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Shin, Lee share lead


‘I don’t think I’ve ever played out here this windy.’

Shin Jiyai turns the fairway in flames by shooting an eight-under-par 63 to snatch the third round lead of the LPGA Seri Park Championship at Palos Verdes Golf Club in Los Angeles. | ORLANDO RAMIREZ/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — South Korean veteran Shin Ji-yai fired eight birdies in a scintillating eight-under-par 63 on Saturday to grab a share of the third-round lead in the LPGA Seri Pak Championship alongside Alison Lee.

A round featuring five straight birdies from the third through the seventh holes propelled Shin to a nine-under-par total of 204, where she was joined by Lee after the American signed for a three-under-par 68 at Palos Verdes Golf Club in Los Angeles.

They were two strokes clear of Australian Gabriela Ruffels, Americans Nelly Korda and Malia Nam and China’s defending champion Yin Ruoning.

Yin had the lead at 10-under through 15 holes before a triple-bogey seven at the 18th dropped her into the tie for third. Ruffels carded a 65, Korda a 67 and overnight leader Nam a one-over 72.

Shin, who added birdies at 15, 16 and 18, said the windy conditions made hitting into the small greens tricky, but once she got on her birdie run at the third things felt relatively “easy.”

The former world number one, whose 11 LPGA titles include two British Women’s Open crowns, plays largely in Asia nowadays.

But she took a sponsor’s exemption to play in the tournament hosted for the first time this year by her childhood idol Pak Se-ri.

It’s also a chance for the world No. 18 to garner more world ranking points as she chases a Paris Olympics berth.

“It’s quite big,” Shin said of the possibility of playing in the Olympics. “That’s why I asked Se-ri to want to play… because I play the Japan Tour right now, they have points as well but much less than the LPGA Tour.”

“You know, next year (will be) my 20th pro year,” the 35-year-old noted. “But, finally, I find a new goal this year so since early January I went to Australia and did the hard work out. I went to Saudi, Singapore, Japan. I played all over the world because I’m very focused on my goal.”

Lee, who is chasing a first LPGA title, had six birdies in her three-under effort, chipping in for a birdie at the first before picking up another stroke at the second. She added birdies at the fifth, sixth and seventh and bounced back from bogeys at nine and 11 with a birdie at 16.

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