LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Park Sung-Hyun maintained a share of the lead with a 69 Saturday in the Thornberry Creek Classic where Monday qualifier Noh Yealimi is trying to win in her first start as a pro.
The world number one Park is tied atop a crowded leaderboard with Feng Shanshan, Tiffany Joh and Ariya Jutanugarn at 20-under 196 heading into the final round of the tournament in Oneida, Wisconsin.
But just one stroke back is Park’s third round playing partner Noh, who has been the biggest surprise of the week after the 17-year-old rookie shot the same three-under 69 score. It was Noh’s third straight round in the 60s to reach a 19-under total, placing her alone in fifth spot.
The Korean-American Noh played the opening two rounds alongside an amateur whom she beat by 73 shots and Saturday she went toe-to-toe with the top ranked player in the world.
Park said Noh’s maturity surprised her.
‘‘She spoke very good Korean so I had time to speak with her some. I asked her how old she was and she said she was 17,’’ said Park.
‘‘Even though she’s a young player, her swing is really good, her playing is really good. I look forward to her play in the future.’’