ARKANSAS (AFP) — The Philippines’ Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina found themselves sharing 11th place on Saturday, six spots behind the leader after the third round of the LPGA’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
With a 69-65 on the first two rounds, Pagdanganan was making a mad dash for the leaderboard. She birdied Nos. 2, 5, 7, 8, 14 and 16 for a four-under total of 134.
Joining her is compatriot Ardina who eagled the par 4-8th to make up for her bogey on the first. The 29-year-old shot down birdies on the fourth, fifth, 10th and 17th.
South Korean rookie Ryu Hae-ran fired a second straight bogey-free seven-under par 64 to grab a two-stroke lead.
The 22-year-old world number 37 stood on 14-under 128 after 36 holes in the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.
“I can’t hit a bogey these two rounds and I’m so happy,” Ryu said. “This week my shot is so perfect.”
“I think it’s the first time I hit a 60-score (twice) in a row and I want to try one more round.”
Japanese rookie Yuna Nishimura also fired a 64 to share second on 130 with Australian Hannah Green. South Korea’s Jenny Shin was third on 131 with compatriot Kim Sei-young another stroke adrift.
Ryu, a five-time winner on the Korean LPGA tour and LPGA Q-school medalist, has five top-10 finishes this year, including eighth at the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.
She birdied the par-3 11th hole and added another at the par-5 18th to close her first nine, then reeled off four consecutive birdies from the par-3 third through the par-3 sixth holes and concluded her round with a birdie at the par-4 ninth.
“Today on the first nine holes my shot is so perfect but I can’t make birdie, I can’t focus on my putts. Always I miss the cup,” Ryu said. “First nine holes my putt is going off to the right.”
But the rookie revived her form after her birdie at 18.
“OK, I have more chance and I have more holes left,” Ryu told herself. “Yeah, it was more confidence after nine holes that I can make so many birdies, and I got it.”
Nishimura, 23, started on the back nine and birdied four of her first five holes then birdied four of the first six on her second nine before a bogey at the eighth dropped her two off the pace.