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Nasa Hataoka fires third-round 67 to move into tie for first place

AFP-JIJI, Kyodo, AP

Nasa Hataoka eagled the par-5 15th and shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday to finish with a share of the 54-hole lead alongside Bronte Law at the LPGA Pure Silk Championship.

Hataoka had five birdies in her first 12 holes at Kingsmill Resort and bounced back from her lone bogey at the par-4 14th with an eagle at 15.

“I wasn’t thinking about where I was going to get a bogey or anything like that, so when it came, it came,” Hataoka said. “Then I just cleared it.”

She was in the clubhouse at 13-under when Law, who shared the overnight lead with Americans Jennifer Song and Jacqui Concolino, birdied the 18th to join her.

“I’ve led from the start and I kind of wanted to continue that so that was huge to keep that going,” said Law, who finished with six birdies and two bogeys in her four-under 67. “That was really my goal when I teed up on 18.”

Hataoka won the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California, in late March for her third LPGA Tour title.

Law is winless on the tour. The Englishwoman starred at UCLA.

“Obviously, winning is everything, right?” Law said “That’s why we play this game. I’m going to do my very best to go out and get the win.”

Harukyo Nomura, who entered the third round three strokes off the pace, fell to 14th and remains at 6-under after shooting an even-par 71.

“I’m settling down. I made one big mistake (today) but it was good to end at even par,” said Nomura, whose double bogey on the 13th and bogey on the 16th canceled out three birdies.

Among other Japanese players, Sakura Yokomine is at 1-under in 58th, while Suzuka Yamaguchi is at 2-over in 71st.

Song, tied for the lead after each of the first two rounds, had a 68 to fall a shot back along with Brooke Henderson. Song, a former University of Southern California player, is also winless on tour.

“The toughest part about today was the wind was just switching here and there,” Song said. “It was kind of hard to make decisions with my club.”

Henderson had a 64.

“This year it’s a little bit windier too than it has been in the past and you’re getting a lot of roll around the tee and on the greens, too,” the Canadian said. “You just have to play smart around this golf course.”

Carlota Ciganda was 11 under after a 68, and Madelene Sagstrom had a 69 to get to 10 under.

The U.S. Women’s Open is next week at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.