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Yuka trails leader by 6

Yuka Saso climbed up the leaderboard with a four-under-par 68 in the third round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship at the Saticoy Club in Somis, California Saturday.

The 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese moved to 8-under 208, putting her in a good position to contend on Sunday.

Overnight leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff stayed on top on 14-over after a 69 while Paula Reto was running second on 10-under following a 69.

Andrea Lee, Hinako Shibuno and Celine Boutier were on 9-under.

Saso finished strong with four birdies in the last seven holes to tie for sixth spot.

Shadoff, chasing a first wire-to-wire victory, stood on 14-under 202 after 54 holes.

The 34-year-old Briton made birdies at the par-5 sixth and par-4 seventh and added another at the par-5 14th in a bogey-free round.

“Overall I feel really comfortable with how I’m hitting the ball,” Shadoff said.

“I hit my driver really well again today. I hit a lot of greens again and I think my speed putting was really good.”

World No. 93 Shadoff has not won a title in 12 LPGA seasons but was third at June’s ShopRite Classic, her best result since a runner-up effort at the 2017 British Women’s Open.

“Anything can happen on a Sunday,” Shadoff said.

“Four shots is nice but there are world-class players around me so I just have to stick to my game, concentrate on my game and stay in the moment.”

Reto, who also fired 69, won her first LPGA title in August at the Canadian Women’s Open.

“I need to give myself a lot of opportunities,” Reto said.

“She’s playing real steady, real strong, not making a lot of bogeys.”

“I’m going to have to try to do the same and at the same time enjoy it as well, the competing and being out here.”

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, France’s Celine Boutier and American Andrea Lee shared third on 207.

China’s Lin Xiyu shared sixth on 208 with Japan’s Yuka Saso and American Danielle Kang.

Shadoff was excited about the chance to lift her first trophy by leading after every round.

“It’s probably the first time in my career to do so, so either way it’s a really good learning experience this week,” she said.

“I’ll just stick to my routine and hopefully a good result will come.”

Reto opened with a birdie and answered a bogey at the third with birdies at the sixth and par-3 ninth.

On the back nine, Reto followed a bogey at 11 with birdies at the 12th and 17th to remain the nearest threat to Shadoff entering the last round.

“I didn’t take advantage of the par-5s,” Reto said.

“Things like that I will have to take advantage of tomorrow.”

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