Nomura avoids penalty, still up by 3

Hara Nomura of Japan survived a blustery day and a rules question by officials to maintain a three-stroke lead over Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa and Na Yeon Choi of South Korea into the final round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City on the outskirts of San Francisco.

Nomura, whose only LPGA Tour victory came earlier this season in the ISPA Handa Australian Women’s Open, closed out a 1-under-par 71 with six consecutive pars.

When she was finished, LPGA Tour officials talked with her for 45 minutes about in incident that occurred in a bunker when she made a par-5 on the sixth hole.

“What happened was the bunker on No. 6, the greenside bunker on the left, it was slopey, so I was trying to take a stance, but I kept slipping downhill, and in order to get a firm stance, even when I had to do a practice swing, I had to swing real hard,” Nomura said. “When I did, I kept moving forward again and again. There was no option but to move like that, but they were saying that I was moving excessively, but what I was trying to tell them was, ‘OK, then what is the guideline?’ There should be some sort of a standard, a regulation that explains what a fraction is and not. So that was what was going on.”

Officials released this statement: “Under rule 13-3, a player is entitled to place her feet firmly in taking a stance, but she must not build a stance. … The Committee reviewed the video, and after a discussion with the player and her caddie, it was determined that no breach occurred.”

Pace bounced back from two early bogeys to shoot 69, while Choi finished with a 71.

Brooke Henderson, the 18-year-old rising star from Canada, posted a bogey-free 69 and was five shots back in a tie for fourth with Catriona Matthew of Scotland, who birdied the last hole for a 71, Gerina Piller, who made two late birdies in a 72, and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, who took a double bogey-5 on the 15th hole and totaled 73.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko, two-time defending champion of the Swinging Skirts, also carded a 73 and was six strokes behind in a tie for eighth with Minjee Lee of Australia, who came in at 74.

In Gee Chun of South Korea recorded a bogey-free 68 that was the best score of the day and was another shot back in a tie for 10th with Tiffany Joh of San Diego and UCLA, who wound up at 70, Mi Jung Hur of South Korea, who finished at 69, and Brittany Lang, who struggled to a 74.


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