KILDEER (Illinois) • South Korean Ryu So-yeon had a little piece of good fortune but also made her own luck as she surged to a three-stroke lead in the third round at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Saturday.
The former world No. 1 took a big step towards a third Major title with a five-under 67 in scorching conditions at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois. No one was cooler than the 28-year-old on the back nine, where she picked up four birdies to post an 11-under 205 total.
Canadian Brooke Henderson shot 70 to be alone in second place on eight-under. South Korean Park Sung-hyun (71), who shared the halfway lead with Ryu and Henderson, slipped four strokes behind.
"After the front nine, I couldn't actually expect to be leading after the round," said Ryu, who celebrated her 28th birthday on Friday. "But I think that (par-five No.) 11 was really, really important momentum for me. That was a really big birdie.''
She gave herself a top grade after closing the round by rolling in a 15-footer on the par-four 18th.
"I think for long game, I can give myself an 'A', and then about the putting, also I can give myself an 'A'," said the 2011 US Women's Open winner and last year's ANA Inspiration champion.
As well as she played, she also got an assist at the par-five seventh, where her second shot landed in a woman's food container, probably preventing the ball from going into a water hazard.
"For sure, that was one of my luckiest moments out there," she said. "I could have made double bogey instead of (par), but the little bag was there, so it saved me."
Henderson, winner of the event two years ago before finishing runner-up last year, rued slipping from two shots in front at the turn to three behind at the end of the day.
"I struggled a little bit with my putter, which is disappointing," she said. "(I will try to) get better in my head and just go out tomorrow and made a lot of good shots and see if I can make some birdies, and hopefully they roll in."