July 15, 2017 / 11:31 PM / a year ago

Golf-Feng, with long-awaited birdie, takes 54-hole lead at U.S. Women's Open

BEDMINSTER, New Jersey, July 15 (Reuters) - Shanshan Feng snapped a run of 23 consecutive pars with a birdie at the 18th hole to reclaim a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round at the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club.

Feng, trying to complete a wire-to-wire victory, was caught late in the round by South Koreans Amy Yang and 17-year-old amateur Choi Hye-jin, but the 27-year-old Chinese stuck an approach at the par-five finishing hole to three feet and made the putt to happily end the par streak.

The birdie gave Olympic bronze medalist Feng a one-under 71 for a 54-hole total of nine-under 207, one shot better than Yang and Choi, who both shot 70 among a wave of Korean challengers.

Yang, a top-four finisher in the last three Women’s Opens, rolled in a 20-foot left-to-right birdie curler at the 17th, while number two ranked amateur Choi sank a long birdie putt at the par-three 16th.

Feng, who has just one bogey in the tournament, could not buy a birdie in the ideal conditions until the last, failing to convert earlier birdie chances from 10 feet and twice from 12 feet in the closing holes.

Long-hitting Park Sung-hyun of South Korea was three shots back after tearing up the closing nine with six birdies for a 67.

Three other Koreans, world number one Ryu So-yeon (71), Lee Mi-rim (67) and Lee Jeong-eun (73), were another stroke back at five-under.

Former champion Cristie Kerr shot 70 to stand as the leading American player at four under par, a total she shared with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (72).

Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Andrew Both

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