KILDEER, United States (AFP) - South Korea's Ryu So-yeon used a hot putter and a lucky bounce on No. 7 to seize a three-shot lead heading into the final round of the Women's PGA Championship on Saturday (June 30).
The two-time major champion, who celebrated her 28th birthday on Friday, started the day tied with Brooke Henderson for top spot but gained five strokes on the final five holes to grab the sole lead over the Canadian at 11-under 205.
"I don't want it to slip away my opportunity," Ryu said. "I want to finish strong, but as I said, it is just better not to expect anything. All I can do is just focus on what I have and just have fun with it."
Canada's Henderson is second after shooting a two-under 70 while Park Sung-hyung, who shared the 36 hole lead with Ryu and Henderson, is third after posting a 71 at Kemper Lakes Golf Club course.
American Angel Yin shot a four-under 68 to take fourth and England's Bronte Law rounds out the top five after firing a 69.
It is truly and international leaderboard as the top five players represent four countries, Canada, USA, South Korea and England.
Players have had to battle high temperatures this week and on Sunday they will start earlier than normal as weather forecasters are predicting thunderstorms in the afternoon. Groups of three will tee off beginning at 7:30 am (12:30 GMT).
Ryu got a welcome break at the par five seventh hole when her shot landed in a woman's lunch sack. That prevented her shot from going in the water and she ended up with a par on the hole.
"One of my luckiest moments out there. Definitely God helped me out there," she said. Ryu, who won last year's ANA Inspiration and the 2011 US Women's Open, finished with a half dozen birdies.
Her only blemish was a bogey on the par-three third hole. Ryu is playing with plenty of confidence after collecting her first win of 2018 at the Meijer Classic two weeks ago.
In a span of three holes on the back nine on Saturday she went from trailing Henderson by two to leading by two strokes. She capped her round with a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 for a three-shot cushion.
"Right now, I feel pretty confident on the putting green," she said. "And I think the tournament is all about confidence. That's the attitude I really want to have for tomorrow, a free mind but confidence."
Henderson, of Smith Falls, Ontario, hopes to celebrate Canada Day on Sunday by claiming her second Women's PGA Championship title after winning the event two years ago when it was held in Seattle.
After pulling away with four birdies over the first 11 holes she closed with bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16.
"I feel like all parts of my game are pretty strong this week. Hopefully tomorrow I can just go out and put a good score together and just kind of see what happens," said Henderson, who will play in a group on Sunday with Ryu and Park.