Ariya contending in Hawaii

Ariya contending in Hawaii

Rookie Pajaree also among top 10 heading into final round at Lotte Championship

Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand replaces her ball as she prepares to putt on the fourth green during the third round of the Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii on Friday. (AFP Photo)
Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand replaces her ball as she prepares to putt on the fourth green during the third round of the Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii on Friday. (AFP Photo)

KAPOLEI, Hawaii: Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn is two strokes off the lead and LPGA Tour rookie Pajaree Anannarukarn is also among the top 10 golfers heading into the final round of the Lotte Championship.

Canada's Brooke Henderson took another step toward defending her title, firing a three-under-par 69 for a share of the lead after three rounds on Friday. She’s tied with American Nelly Korda who had a 71 to reach a total of 14-under 202 on the Ko Olina Golf Club course on Oahu.

But it was Ariya, who has slipped to third in the world rankings after a slow start this year, who had the round of the day, firing six birdies for a 6-under 66 to reach 204. Pajaree shot a 69 and is tied for eighth place at 8 under, and Moriya Jutanugarn is another stroke back.

Ariya is still looking for her first win this season And said the secret to fighting the windy conditions at Ko Olina was having more confidence in her club selection. 

“Today I felt like I trusted my decisions more, because it's pretty windy and there were a lot of things going on,” she said. “The last few days, especially yesterday when it was windy, I felt like I wasn’t really trusting the shots I picked. Today I felt like, you know what? I'm just going to make every shot my best and trust my decision.”

The former World No.1 admitted that she went into the third round believing she was too far behind the leaders to catch up, and that the best she could do would be to stay patient.

Henderson, who is aiming to equal Canadian legend Sandra Post for the most LPGA Tour wins by a Canadian, agreed the wind was a factor. “I really had to stay patient,” she said.

Korda rolled in birdies on the 12th, 14th and 16th holes and might have finished alone at the top had she mot dropped a stroke on 18.

Australia's Minjee Lee and second-round leader Ji Eun-hee of South Korea were one shot back at 13-under.

Lee, who won the tournament three years ago, had a 70. She was bogey-free and chipped in for eagle on the fifth hole. Ji shot 74 after opening with rounds of 65 and 74.


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