Ciganda takes North Texas LPGA lead, but Park lurks

The SportsXchange

IRVING, Texas -- Carlota Ciganda of Spain fired a 5-under 66 in the third round on Saturday to claim a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the LPGA Tour's North Texas Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club.

However, Inbee Park of South Korea, No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, is lurking in a tie for second after shooting 67 in Round 3.

"When it comes to the final round, I think a more experienced player definitely has an advantage going into the pressure conditions," Park said.

Ciganda, who began Saturday trailing Caroline Masson of Germany by one stroke, posted birdies on the sixth and seventh holes while playing the front nine in 3-under 33. She hit her tee shot to within three feet on No. 6 for a tap-in birdie.

Her rally continued at the start of the back nine with birdies on the 10th and 12th holes before carding her only bogey of the day at No. 14.

"I was just trying to focus on my game, just trying to play my own game and stay in the present," Ciganda said. "I wasn't very nervous. I wasn't thinking of the lead or the numbers. I was just thinking to play one shot at a time."

Ciganda nearly added another bogey on the 16th, sending her tee shot into the left-side rough, and the 23-year-old's second shot bounced off the green into the fringe, leaving a tough chip.

She would make the shot look easy, placing it within a few feet of the hole to save par.

Ciganda added another birdie on No. 17 to gain momentum for Sunday, hitting her tee ball to within four feet and sneaking the putt into the right side of the hole.

Park moved into a tie for second with Masson following a late rally. Park opened the day with a bogey on the first and birdie on the third to finish even on the first nine.

However, Park closed strong with five birdies on the back nine to finish her second 67 of the tournament, sinking a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.

"When I was warming up this morning, there was a lot of wind, so I thought it was going to be really tough out there today," Park said. "But luckily we didn't have much wind out there today. I was putting much better. Hit the ball much better today."

Masson, who shot 64 in Round 1, started Saturday the way her second round ended. After posting bogeys in three of the final four holes on Friday, Masson fell off the lead with a double-bogey on No. 1.

"I had the wrong club there in my hand," Masson said. "A double bogey is never nice to start with. I was trying to calm down and made a birdie a few holes after."

She would rally with five birdies while shooting 69 to remain in contact with Ciganda heading to the final round.

"I was trying to calm down and made a birdie a few holes after the bogey," Masson said. "I had a few bad shots but overall I'm still hitting it OK."

Na Yeon Choi of South Korea made the biggest move on the leaderboard from Round 2 with a 66, climbing seven spots to fourth.

Choi birdied three of the first four holes and posted another two on the back nine before barely missing still another birdie at No. 18.

So Yeon Ryu of South Korea shot 68 and joined Christina Kim (67), Karine Icher (67) of France and Jee Young Lee (67) of South Korea in a tie for fifth.

Ryu, who was bogey-free over the last two rounds, posted an eagle on No. 3 and had a chance for another on No. 10, but her putt stopped inches short for a birdie. Ryu was bogey-free through the last two rounds.

NOTES: Michelle Wie fell below the second cut line by shooting 4-over 75 in her third round, missing by three strokes as the secondary cut fell at 1 over par. ... Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands finished with the best score of Round 3, a 65, and climbed 51 spots to a tie for 14th.
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