Lizette Salas shoots 65 in third round to lead Kingsmill Championship

WILLIAMSBURG — Birdies on three of the last five holes Saturday lifted Lizette Salas into a three-shot lead over Hee Young Park after three rounds of the Kingsmill Championship.

Salas was one of the golfers who had to complete their second round Saturday morning because of Friday's delayed start because of weather. Salas had seven holes left in her second round Saturday before starting her third round.

"I knew it would be a long day," she said.

The morning round didn't start out well. She bogeyed her first hole, a par 5, by three-putting, but played the next 24 holes without a bogey. She was 7-under after finishing her morning round, then shot 65 in the afternoon, the best round of the day, and is 13-under for the tournament.

"I was quite nervous coming down the stretch because Hee Young was knocking it near the pin," Salas said. "I felt relaxed and I tried to smile as much as possible."

The third round started with Park at 8-under, leading Salas and Stacy Lewis by a stroke.

Salas, who hasn't won on the LPGA Tour, and Park shared and exchanged the lead before Salas took the lead for good when Park bogeyed 12.

Salas said she had between 2 1/2 and three hours between rounds.

"I went to the physio-trainer, got some work done on my lower back," Salas said on how she killed the time. "I took about a 10-minute nap, had a brief lunch and started my routine."

Behind Salas and Park are Lydia Ko, Katherine Kirk and Stacy Lewis at 8-under.

Kirk, who briefly tied for the lead early in the round but gave it up with a bogey on No. 8, chipped in from a bunker on 18.

"I had 23 yards to the hole and hit a little gap wedge up there," she said. "I didn't see where it landed, but saw it catch the edge at the last minute and drop in."

A win here Sunday would be huge for Ko or Lewis. If either is the champ, she will take over the world No. 1 ranking from Inbee Park, who has led the rankings for 57 straight weeks.

Lewis finished with a 1-under 70. She made only three birdies.

Ko, the 17-year-old from New Zealand, was 4-under when the day started. She birdied No. 1, then had birdies on 11, 14 and 15. She has rounds of 70, 68 and 67.

"Overall I'm really happy," Ko said. "I mean, I guess improving every day is a really good sign."

Pornanong Phatlum, Yani Tseng and Lexi Thompson are 7-under, while So Yeon Ryu and first-round co-leader Austin Ernst are 6-under.

Phatlum, 2-under to start, had five birdies on the front nine and offset her only back-nine bogey with two more birdies.

Ernst slipped to 3-under in her second round, but two birdies on her first three holes and consecutive birdies on 11 and 12 got her on track.

"Yeah, yesterday it was just a little bad putting here and there. Just didn't putt very well inside five feet," she said. "It was nice to putt a little bit better today. I got a lot of looks, which I was very happy with today."

Tseng used birdies on 15, 17 and 18 to climb among the leaders.

"It's never too late to make some birdie(s)," she said. "On the last few hole(s) I say to myself, 'Let's make some birdies to move up a little bit.'"

Azahara Munoz, the other first-round co-leader, is 5-under.

Three-time Kingsmill champ Cristie Kerr had a rough start with a bogey on No. 2 and a double bogey on 4, but she fought back to shoot a 1-over 72 and is 3-under for the tournament.

The end of the second round Saturday morning produced one notable cut.

Paula Creamer had made 82 straight cuts dating back to 2010, but finished with a 3-over score for her two rounds, missing by a stroke.

"Yes I missed the cut. ... just couldn't get the job done ... 82 in a row not to(o) shabby...#bummed," she later tweeted.

Also missing the cut was 2004 Kingsmill winner Si Re Pak, who finished 4-over.

Pat Hurst had the shot of the day, a hole-in-one on 17 with a 9-iron. Despite the ace, she finished with a 74 on a day that included five bogeys and no birdies. After taking 29 putts in each of her first two rounds, she needed 35 in the third.

It was the sixth hole-in-one in tournament history and the first since 2009 when Alena Sharp aced No. 2. Hurst's hole in one was the second on 17.

"If I can't putt them in, I might as well hit them in," she said.

Burke can be reached by phone at 757-247-4961.

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