Park takes lead, eyes Grand Slam

Inbee Park of South Korea took a one-shot lead over Suzann Pettersen of Sweden, Shanshan Feng of China and Sun-Ju Ahn of South Korea into the final round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open by firing a 3-under-par 68 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.

Park, who lost the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings to Stacy Lewis earlier this year, celebrated her 26th birthday by making birdies on four of the first six holes and wound up with sole possession of the lead after a two-putt birdie on No. 17.

“Obviously, it was a good ball-striking round because I hit all the greens and didn’t have to chip once,” said Park, who captured three major titles last year and is going for the LPGA Tour Career Grand Slam.

“With no wind there were a lot of opportunities out there and I made some, but I missed some short ones, too, and I will have to avoid that tomorrow. Maybe my standards are too high after last year because I don’t expect to miss any of them.”

Ahn carded three birdies in a span of four holes through No. 16 and temporarily held the clubhouse lead with a 69, but was assessed a two-stroke penalty for building a stance in a greenside bunker at No. 18 and slipped to a tie for second with a 71.

Pettersen, playing perhaps her best golf of the season after being slowed earlier by a back injury, birdied three consecutive holes on the front nine and then finished off her 68 with eagle-birdie.

Feng, who won the 2012 LPGA Championship, recorded a bogey-free 69 with birdies on the last two holes.

Amelia Lewis, a 23-year-old from Jacksonville, eagled the sixth hole in her second straight 71 and was two shots back in a tie for fifth with Julieta Granada of Paraguay, who birdied the 18th hole to shoot 72.

Top-ranked and defending champion Stacy Lewis birdied two of the last three holes and was three strokes behind in a tie for seventh that included  Mo Martin of Altadena and UCLA, the 36-hole leader, who struggled to a 77.

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