CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Former Duke championship teammates Yu Liu of China and Celine Boutier of France were tied for the lead after three rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Liu had a 5-under 66 to match Boutier at 7 under at the Country Club of Charleston. Boutier shot 69.
The pair of Blue Devils, good friends and starters on the 2014 NCAA championship team, were a stroke in front of Lexi Thompson, Jaye Marie Green and Japan’s Mamiko Higa, the surprise leader the first two rounds.
Boutier held the lead at 8 under until she made her only bogey of the round on No. 16 after stubbing a chip and needing a 21-footer to limit the damage. She won the Vic Open in February in Australia for her first LPGA Tour title.
Liu, in her first U.S. Women’s Open, made six birdies in a 13-hole stretch to move up after starting four shots off the lead. She’s winless on the tour.
Thompson powered her way into contention, going eagle-birdie on the 15th and 16th holes for a 68.
Green shot 68, her second sub-70 showing this week after entering with just one round in the 60s in five Open appearances.
Higa had an up-and-down round of three birdies and three bogeys to lose the lead she’s held much of the week. She finished with her second straight 71.
Principal Charity Classic
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Scott Parel shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to extend his lead to five strokes in the PGA Tour Champions’ Principal Charity Classic.
Parel had a 15-under 129 total at Wakonda Club to break the tournament 36-hole record of 13 under set a year ago by eventual winner Tom Lehman.
The 54-year-old Parel won twice last year on the 50-and-older tour, and he’s a strong bet to add a third win today after a second straight bogey-free round.
“I like how I’m playing,” Parel said. “Somebody’s going to have to play good to beat me.”
The list of players who’ll try to do just includes Marco Dawson, who shot a 65 to match Jerry Kelly (67) at 10 under. Gene Sauers (68), David Toms (68) and Billy Andrade (69) were 9 under.
Parel tied the course record of 63 on Friday, finishing with five birdies on the back nine. Parel pulled away even more from the field with a second-round performance that was nearly as dominant. Parel stuck his approach to 6 feet on No. 10 to push his lead to four shots, and a birdie putt on No. 12 gave him a five-stroke lead.
Parel’s streak of par-5 birdies at Wakonda didn’t end until he missed on No. 13 by about an inch. After Parel put himself into a green-side bunker on the 16th hole, he chipped to a foot. Parel will be tough to beat in the final round if he can at least stay under par, but that’s not how he plans to approach it.
“I’ve played with these guys enough to know that somebody back there probably is going to shoot seven to nine under [par],” Parel said. “There’s no let up.”
Dawson, who shot a first-round 69, kicked off his surge with an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole. Dawson bogeyed the next hole, but he rallied with seven more birdies to get within striking distance of Parel heading into today — though he did blow a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 15.
Despite shooting Saturday’s low round, Dawson was still well off Parel’s pace.
“You don’t have any control over [Parel’s] game. He doesn’t have any control over your game. So if he plays great, great,” Dawson said. “You don’t want to change your strategy, so to speak.”
Kelly picked up an eagle on the fifth hole to highlight a bogey-free day. Sauers surged up the leaderboard with six straight birdies before closing with a bogey and a short missed birdie putt on No. 18.
Money leader Scott McCarron, whose first senior win came in Iowa in 2016, was 7 under after a 67.
Chris DiMarco, who started the second round in second place, two strokes back of Parel, fell apart on Saturday. He bogeyed back-to-back holes on the front nine and finished with a 75.