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Jin Young Ko dodges bogeys on road to retain lead at LPGA meet in Texas

THE COLONY, Texas – Jin Young Ko started for the eagle on the 15th par 4 and finished a buoy-free 32-hole on Saturday in the dark with a lead in the Volunteers of America Classic.

Ko returned to the cloudy and windy Old American early Saturday and played the final 14 holes for a 1 under 70 in the suspended second round. After a break at her nearby home in Frisco, the 25-year-old South Korean star shot 66 in the third round. She climbed up and down for track figure on the 18th par-4 and clipped close after hitting over the green.

German Esther Henseleit and Finnish Matilda Castren were tied for second place. Henseleit also threw the 15th in her 64. Castren shot 68. They both completed their second rounds on Friday.

Ko dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the world when Nelly Korda won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last week for her second consecutive victory, ending a run of nearly two years. Even with a win Sunday, Ko would remain number 2.

The first frontrunner to a 63, Ko, had a total of 14 under 199 in the event which was back on schedule after the start of the match on Friday, was delayed six hours due to rain and lightning.

The 22-year-old Henseleit follows the eagle at 15 with a birdie on the par-5 17th. She won the Ladies European Tour’s 2019 Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

“I actually did not think we would get so close not to finish, but I’m so glad we did,” Henseleit said. “It’s really dark. You could not really see the pins on the last two holes. But just happy to sleep in tomorrow.”

Castren put 15 and 17 on the birdie. She won the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship three weeks ago in California on the misty Lake Merced to become the first Finnish winner in LPGA tour history.

Jeongeun Lee6, the South Korean player who won the US Women’s Open in 2019 and lives in nearby Irving, was ten down to a 69. She felt the last three holes.

Defending champion Angela Stanford has run three of the last four holes in a 68 to get to 9 under. The 43-year-old former TCU star from Fort Worth won at 7 under 7 last year when the event was played in early December.

“With this east wind we have today, I said to my boyfriend in the second hole, ‘This is the hardest wind out here,'” Stanford said. “Now we’ve seen all the directions, but I think the east is the hardest. . It probably helped me to calm down and be patient and to know that it was going to play harder. “

She played 31 holes on Saturday and finished a second round 70 this morning.

“I’m ready to go to bed,” Stanford said. “The wake-up call at 4:30 was difficult.”

Ana Belac was also 9 down to a 68.

Stacy Lewis, of the Houston area, was 18th in a 68 that left her 8th under. The 2014 tournament winner played 32 holes on Saturday.

“I’m tired. Today has been so long. It was exhausting,” Lewis said. “Early this morning it played really hard, I think with the wind coming out again … just really tiring, and glad I’m done.”

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