Inbee Park steers five clear in Kia Classic

Inbee Park moved five strokes ahead of the field with a 69 in the third round of the Kia Classic. Mi Jung Hur, Minjee Lee and Mel Reid are at 7-under

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Inbee Park - LPGA - Getty Images

28 March 2021: Inbee Park opened a five-stroke lead Saturday in a bid to finally win the Kia Classic. Aditi Ashok continued her progression through the order with a 71 in the third round. The golfer from Bengaluru moved to T45 with four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole. Aditi is at 1-over 217.

Second in the event in 2010, 2016 and 2019, the Hall of Famer shot a 3-under 69 to reach 12-under 204 at Aviara Golf Club.

Park is making her first LPGA Tour start of the season. The 32-year-old South Korean star, ranked fourth in the world, has 20 tour victories – seven of them majors.

Playing partner Mel Reid lipped out a birdie try from off the green on 18 in a 71 that left her tied for second with Mi Jung Hur (67) and Minjee Lee (68).

Top-ranked Jin Young Ko, Lexi Thompson and Madelene Sagstrom were 6 under in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week in Rancho Mirage. Ko, the ANA winner in April 2019, shot 68.

Sagstrom had the round of the day, overcoming an opening double bogey for a 64. The Swede followed the double bogey with birdies on seven of the next eight holes. She had four birdies and a bogey on the back nine.

Thompson had a bogy-free 66.

Thompson and Amy Olson – 5 under after a 67 – were in the best position to extend the United States’ season-opening winning streak. Americans have won the first three events for the first time since 2007, with sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda taking the first two and Austin Ernst the last.

Women’s British Open winner Sophia Popov, a stroke behind Park entering the round, had five bogeys in a 76 in the final group. She was 4 under.

Marina Alex closed bogey-eagle-bogey-eagle, holing out from the fairway on the par-4 18th for a 71. She was 3 under.

 

Associated Press on LPGA