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Feng leads U.S. Women’s Open as Trump watches; Nomura in 10th place

Kyodo, AP

Harukyo Nomura faded in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open, dropping from sixth to 10th, six shots off the pace on Saturday.

Nomura shot a 73 for a 3-under 213 total after a birdie and a pair of bogeys as Feng Shanshan maintained her lead.

Retiring Ai Miyazato also had a 73 to sit in 36th place, 11 strokes out of first.

“I didn’t have a good feel for my second shots,” Nomura said. “It wasn’t particularly fun out there with par after par, but I’m glad I could birdie the last hole.”

Feng is going to have the president of the United States looking over her shoulder in the final round and probably a lot of South Korean fans, too.

The 27-year-old from China rolled in a short birdie putt on the final hole to take a one-shot lead after three rounds.

Teenager Choi Hye-jin and perennial Open bridesmaid Amy Yang were tied for second in an event where the South Koreans have shined. The top six players chasing Feng are all from South Korea.

It should make for an interesting final day in a tournament that had an even bigger stage with Trump in attendance. He’s the first sitting president to attend a U.S. Women’s Open.

Trump spent the night in his house on the course and took the short drive from his residence to his box overlooking the 15th green, arriving around 2:35 p.m. Walking up the stairs, he yelled to the crowd asking them about the players’ scores.

Feng shot a 1-under 71 to reach 9-under 207 at the president’s Trump National Golf Club.

“Coming to this week, I didn’t have any expectation at all,” said Feng, who has lead from the start after shooting a 66 in her quest for a second major. “I just — I wanted to bring out my ‘A’ game. And then I think I did really well for the first three days, and then I’m going to stick to my game plan. I just focus on my own game and let’s see what happens.”

Choi and Yang each shot 70.

Park Sung-hyun, the top rookie on the LPGA Tour, was 6 under after a 67. Top-ranked Ryu So-yeon (71), Mirim Lee (67) and Jeongeun6 Lee (73) were 5 under.

Kerr, a former Open winner and a member at this course, was tied at 4 under with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (72).

Feng had a one-shot lead after the first round and a two-shot margin at the halfway point, but she just could not hit it close in the third round. She had a couple of 10- to 15-footers for birdie on the back nine that never threatened the hole and she did not convert until hitting her third on the par-5 18th to about 5 feet.

Choi, the 17-year-old who is the world’s No.2 ranked amateur, might have been the most consistent player after bogeying her first hole. She birdied Nos. 8, 11 and 16 and just missed another on the final hole.

“I didn’t have the greatest start but I think if I just stay focused and play the game as maybe not necessarily play safe but maybe more aggressively I think I’m going to be OK,” Choi said through an interpreter.