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Shin leads ShopRite LPGA Classic, seeking 1st win since 2016

Hunter Martin / Getty Images Sport / Getty

GALLOWAY, N.J. (AP) — Jenny Shin shot a 2-under 69 on Saturday and will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic as she seeks her first victory since 2016.

With the wind kicking up and making conditions tougher at the Bay Course at Seaview Resort, the 31-year-old from South Korea had six birdies and four bogeys to post a two-day total of 10-under 132.

It was much different from Friday's opening round, when Shin had nine birdies and a bogey in calmer conditions to match a career low with a 63.

“It was quite windy today, and at some point it was windier than yesterday,” Shin said. “I fully expected not having any wind in the morning, so that took me by surprise.”

Albane Valenzuela, who is trying to become the first Swiss player to win on tour, shot at 68 at was alone in second, a shot ahead of Ssu-Chia Cheng, Narin An, Megan Khang and Wei-Ling Hsu.

Ayaka Furue, who has six top-10 finishes this year including a tie for sixth in last week's U.S. Women's Open, was among the group three shots back.

In all, there were 13 players within three shots of of Shin heading into the final round and 26 within four, including first-round leader Arpichaya Yubol, who shot 75 after opening with a career-best 61.

“I think realistically, anyone within three or four has a good solid chance,” said Khang, who is ranked No. 16 in the world. “Being in one of the last groups is a little more pressure typically, but being able to be the chaser and be a little more aggressive could work to one’s benefit.”

Yuka Saso, who won her second U.S. Women's Open title last week, missed the 3-under cut by three shots. Japanese countrywoman Hinako Shibuno, the runner-up last week, was five shots off the lead after a 71.

Japanese star Nasa Hataoka was disqualified before the start of the round after officials reviewed video of her final hole in the first round and found she took too long searching for a lost ball in tall grass surrounding the ninth hole, her last of the day.

While she found the ball, since time expired, it was considered lost. By rule, Hataoka should have returned to the spot of her previous shot and played from there with a one-stroke penalty. She didn't, signed for a 65 and left the scoring area.

Shin will take a lead into the final round for the fourth time on the LPGA Tour. She did not win any of those previous events. In her victory at the 2016 Volunteers of America Shootout, she chased down Gerina Piller with a final-round 67 to win by two.

“This golf course is pretty forgiving if you miss it in the right place,” Shin said. “I feel like I don’t know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, but you need a little bit of luck. You need to make the birdies when they come and you just can’t make bogeys. So tomorrow is always about patience, I think.”

Valenzuela, who played at Stanford, had a career-best second-place finish earlier this season in Thailand. She had five birdies and a two bogeys in her second trip around the course not far from Atlantic City.

“Last week was a luxury to get birdie looks,” said the 26-year-old, who was born in New York. “So just feels nice to be on a scorable course like this one. Yeah, I love this place. Two good finishes the last two years so just have good memories here.”

Gina Kim made an albatross, holing her second shot on the par-5 ninth hole, her last of the day. That moved her from 5 over on the day to 2 over, but she still missed the cut by one shot.

“I didn't see where it went but everybody went crazy,” Kim said. “I thought to myself, ‘Even though today was a crummy day, it’s moments like these that make it worth it.’ That make us want to keep training for more.”


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