Windy conditions a breeze for self-assured Reed

Ariya Jutanugarn outplayed Cristie Kerr to face Michelle Wie in the last four of the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City.
Ariya Jutanugarn outplayed Cristie Kerr to face Michelle Wie in the last four of the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WILMINGTON (North Carolina) • Patrick Reed matched the best score of the day, a five-under 67, to earn a one-shot lead after the third round at the Wells Fargo Championship on Saturday.

He handled another windy day as well as anyone at Eagle Point, surging to the front with birdies at his final two holes to post an eight-under 208 total ahead of Spaniard Jon Rahm (69) and Swede Alex Noren (69).

Italian halfway leader Francesco Molinari (72) is in a group of four players two shots behind Reed. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is tied-14th, four shots further back after matching Reed's 67.

Johnson, playing his first event since withdrawing from the Masters with a lower back injury, barely made the halfway cut but fought into contention with four birdies on his back nine on Saturday.

Reed picked up six birdies without taking too many risks.

"I didn't get ahead of myself today," said the 26-year-old. "Seems kind of like what I've been doing all week, just let the putter go to work and it's been doing pretty well."

Rahm, meanwhile, continued his sizzling season to move into contention for another win, after his breakthrough victory at Torrey Pines in January.

Noren has not won on the PGA Tour but triumphed four times on the European Tour last year and arrived in Wilmington ranked 12th in the world, the third highest-ranked player in the field.

"It has been very tough conditions the past two days," he said.

"I would have taken 69 in the beginning of this day. I managed to pull a good round and I'm happy with that."

In Mexico City, Thailand's third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn edged Cristie Kerr in 19 holes to reach the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Match Play semi-finals. She will face American star Michelle Wie, who rallied for a 20-hole win against 86th-ranked US rookie Angel Yin, 18.

The semi-finals in the first LPGA match-play tournament since 2012 will also see 12th-ranked Kim Sei Young of South Korea take on 25th-ranked compatriot Hur Mi Jung.

Kim never lost a hole in ousting France's 34th-ranked Karine Icher 5&4 while Hur edged China's seventh-ranked Feng Shanshan 1-up after dispatching world No. 1 Lydia Ko 1-up in Saturday morning's third round.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2017, with the headline 'Windy conditions a breeze for self-assured Reed'. Print Edition | Subscribe