July 22nd, 2024

Chasing first major title, Amy Yang takes 2-shot lead into final round of KPMG Women’s PGA

By Luke Olson, The Associated Press on June 22, 2024.

SAMMAMISH, Wash. (AP) – Amy Yang shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as she chases her first major victory.

Yang was at 7-under 209 at Sahalee Country Club, remaining steady around the greens on the tree-lined course that requires utmost accuracy and precision.

“I grew up watching so many great players in the past, and I saw them winning all the major championships, “Yang said. “I dreamed about playing out here because of them. I work hard for this.

“It’ll mean a lot, but we still got 18 more holes out there and that’s a lot of golf left for major championship.”

The 34-year-old South Korean player has five LPGA Tour victories, the last in November in the Tour Championship.

Lauren Hartlage and Miyu Yamashita were tied for second at 5 under.

Hartlage shot her second straight 69 for the only bogey-free round of the day. The American is winless in three seasons on the LPGA Tour.

“Never been in this position before and this is something that I dreamed about growing up as a kid,” Hartlage said. “So, it’s really awesome to be in this position and just kind of see how it goes and learn from every day, every round.”

Yamashita, from Japan, had her second 70 in a row. She’s an 11-time winner on the Japanese tour.

“I’m not thinking about much of winning,” Yamashita said through a translator. “I’m just focusing on each shot.”

Sarah Schmelzel, the American who shared the second-round lead with Yang, shot a 74 to drop to 4 under.

First-round leader Lexi Thompson had a 73 to drop into a tie for fifth at 3 under with Lilia Vu (68), Caroline Inglis (69), Jin Young (73) and Hinako Shibuno (73). Inglis is from Vancouver, Washington.

The 29-year-old Thompson recently announced this season will be her last playing a full schedule. Last week in Michigan, she lost in a playoff to Vu in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

“There was some tough pins out there, and of course the golf course is the golf course, so it’s tough,” Thompson said.

Vu had the best round of the day with her 68.

Yang went 39 holes without a bogey before dropping a shot on the par-4 eighth. She quickly recovered, hitting it 8 feet on the par-3 ninth and making the putt to get back to 6 under and take the solo lead.

Yang pushed her lead to two strokes, hitting the green in two on the par-5 11th for a two-putt birdie. She dropped another shot on the par-4 16th ““ her third bogey of the tournament ““ but followed with a 36-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

___ AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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