Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Park on verge of making golf history

One round away from third straight major

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Inbee Park was mad, even if it didn't show in her always placid demeanour.

She had made bogey, her third straight, on a hole she thought she should have birdied, and the world's top-ranked player was looking a bit shaky.

Time for a clutch putt.

Park is now one round away from history, leading the U.S. Women's Open by four strokes. She shot 1-under 71 on Saturday in harsh conditions at Sebonack and is 10 under for the tournament.

Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim had a 73 to remain in second but lost two strokes to Park. With the wind whipping, the course set up long and the pin placements tricky, Park was the only player to shoot under par in the third round.

No one has ever won the first three majors in a year when there were at least four.

"I'm just going to try to do the same thing that I did for the last three days," Park said. "Yeah, it will be a big day. But it's just a round of golf, and I just try not to think about it so much."

She wasn't too disappointed by her bogeys on the 11th and 12th; those were tough holes. But on the par-5 13th, her chip on her third shot rolled into the bunker when it should have put her in position for a birdie putt.

She still led by three strokes but appeared vulnerable -- at least by her recently lofty standards.

"That bogey was a bad bogey," Park said, "so after that I really got my concentration going."

She was unlucky then lucky on the par-4 14th. She thought her second shot would be pushed back by the wind, but it carried too far and settled on the ridge above the hole. No worries: Park simply holed a 30-foot, downhill putt for birdie.

"That was a big putt for me," she said. "Those three bogeys were very tough to handle in the kind of situation that I was in."

A hole later, she made a 15-foot birdie putt.

It looked as though nobody would break par for the day until she birdied No. 18. Only five players were under par for the tournament.

England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff (74) was third at 3 under. She had to play 21 holes Saturday after the second round was suspended the night before because of fog. Park had good timing Friday: Her group was on the 18th fairway when the horn sounded, so she was able to finish off her round and rest up for the weekend.

Maude-Aimee LeBlanc of Sherbrooke, Que., shot her second straight 77, and is at 7-over 223. Brooke Mackenzie Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., matched the day's high score with an 83, and is at 230.

Not a morning person, Ewart Shadoff didn't enjoy waking up at 4:30 a.m. She birdied the 18th hole to earn a spot in the final group with Park and Kim, then took a nap in the four-plus hours between rounds.

Ewart Shadoff had a chance to make things interesting on No. 12 with Park on the way to a bogey. But her long birdie putt slid over the hole, and she missed the par putt. Instead of pulling within two strokes of Park, Ewart Shadoff remained four back.

Then she bogeyed two of the last three holes.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 30, 2013 B12

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