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Yuka trails leaders by 10

Yuka Saso recovered from a roller-coaster start and shot a second-straight one-under-par 70 in The Ascendant LPGA Benefiting Volunteers of America Championship in The Colony, Texas Saturday.

The 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese, who teed off at the back, opened with back-to-back bogeys, bounced back with birdies in the next two holes before stumbling again with two bogeys in the next three.

A birdie on the par-5 17th enabled Saso to reach the turn on 1-over.

Going home, she birdied 4 and 6.

On even-par 213, Saso joined a big group tied for 42nd place that included Americans Danielle Kang and Stacey Lewis.

Meanwhile, China’s Lin Xiyu fired a two-under par 69 to match England’s Charley Hull for a share of the lead.

Lin, who led Thursday after an opening 65, made three birdies against a lone bogey to join Hull on 11-under 202 through 54 holes at Old American Golf Club at The Colony, Texas.

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and France’s Celine Boutier shared third on 203 with Canada’s Maddie Szeryk fifth on 204.

Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn and Atthaya Thitikul and South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon were together on 205.

Lin, a 26-year-old from Guangzhou, is chasing her first LPGA title.

“Definitely have a chance,” Lin said. “Just need to be patient.”

Her best finish was a runner-up effort in March at Thailand after losing a playoff to Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen. That helps her cope with the pressures of playing in the weekend final groups.

“It’s exciting and nervous at the same time, but I’ve experienced it a couple time this year, so I think I’m getting more comfortable about it,” Lin said.

“It’s just still just playing your own game. Doesn’t really matter who you’re playing with.”

Hull, 26, seeks her second LPGA triumph after capturing the 2016 Tour Championship.

Hull, two strokes ahead of Lin when the day began, sandwiched birdies at the fourth and par-5 sixth holes around a bogey at the par-3 fifth, but fell from the lead with a double bogey at the 10th.
“I just hung in there and got around level par, so it wasn’t too bad,” Hull said.

“I was swinging it quite well, so I’m not going to let one bad swing affect me.”

“It wasn’t really that bad. Hit the cart path and rolled into the rough, and then it was a bit of a dodgy drop because it was just awkward. Finishd on level so it was all right.”

Lin, who had grabbed the lead with birdies at the fifth, sixth and 12th holes, saw her lead trimmed when Hull birdied the 15th and Lin took her lone bogey at the par-3 16th to slide into a share of the lead with Hull.

“Overall, shooting under par, I’m pretty happy with it,” Lin said.

“But the only thing is I finished the round a little weaker. I make a bogey on 16 and didn’t manage to get birdie on 17 and 18. Tomorrow hopefully I’ll do better than that.”

Boutier made her sixth birdie of the day at 18 to close out a 66 and finish one off the pace.

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