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Ewing leads Fassi by 1

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Ally Ewing fired a five-under par 67 to seize a one-stroke lead over Mexico’s Maria Fassi after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Queen City Championship.

The 29-year-old American opened the front and back nines with birdies and birdied all four par-5 holes to stand on 16-under 200 after 54 holes at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“My mindset was just to stay within myself and execute good shots and I did that really well,” said Ewing, who stumbled with a closing bogey.

“Unfortunate bogey on 18, it’s a tough hole, but really happy with how I played and how I handled myself and it leaves me in a good position for tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Dottie Ardina and Yuka Saso joined a big group in 50th place following uneventful rounds.

Ardina, the 28-year-old veteran, shot an even-par 72 while the 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese returned a 71 as they sit on 2-under 214 going into the final 18 holes.

After a sparkling 67 on Friday, Ardina cooled down with two birdies against the same number of bogeys. She made 30 putts, six more than what she did in the previous round.

Fassi, chasing her first LPGA triumph, shot 67 as well to stand second with China’s Lin Xiyu third on 202 after a 70.

“The course started to be a lot more challenging,” Lin said. “The greens were really firm. Overall, I didn’t feel I played my best but I stayed really patient. I’m going to keep being positive and keep chasing it.”

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, South Korean Lee6 Jeong-eun, Australian Sarah Kemp, and American Megan Khang shared fourth on 204 with South Korean Kim A-lim on 205 and American Andrea Lee on 206.

Ewing, the tour leader at reaching greens in regulation, seeks her third LPGA title after the 2020 Drive On Championship at Lake Oconee and 2021 LPGA Match Play.

“I can’t be anything but excited for what I’ve done the first three days,” Ewing said. “There’s a ton of golf left. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Strong putting has boosted Ewing’s confidence after a long season.

“I lost confidence throughout the year. Just seeing putts go in and being a confident putter, that’s where I’m at mentally,” Ewing said.

World No. 52 Ewing, who began the day two back of leader Lee6, opened with a birdie and added two more on the par-5 second and fourth holes to take the lead.

Ewing landed her approach at the 10th at the edge of the hole for a tap-in birdie and dropped her approach inches from the cup at the par-5 12th to set up another birdie for a two-stroke edge.

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