Ally Ewing fired a five-under par 67 to seize a one-stroke lead over Mexico’s Maria Fassi after Saturday’s third round of the Queen City Championship.
The 29-year-old American opened the front and back nines with birdies and birdied all four par-five holes to stand on 16-under 200 after 54 holes at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“My mindset was just to stay within myself and execute good shots and I did that really well,” said Ewing, who stumbled with a closing bogey. “Unfortunate bogey on 18, it’s a tough hole, but really happy with how I played and how I handled myself and it leaves me in a good position for tomorrow.”
Fassi, chasing her first LPGA Tour triumph, shot 67 as well to stand second with China’s Lin Xiyu third on 15 under after a 70.
“The course started to be a lot more challenging,” Lin said. “The greens were really firm. Overall, I didn’t feel I played my best but I stayed really patient. I’m going to keep being positive and keep chasing it.”
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, South Korean Lee6 Jeong-eun, Australian Sarah Kemp and American Megan Khang shared fourth on 204 with South Korean Kim A-lim on 205 and American Andrea Lee on 206.
South Africa’s Paulo Reto is on four under (T30) after a third-round 70.
Ewing, the tour leader at reaching greens in regulation, seeks her third LPGA title after the 2020 Drive On Championship at Lake Oconee and 2021 LPGA Match Play.
“I can’t be anything but excited for what I’ve done the first three days,” Ewing said. “There’s a ton of golf left. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Strong putting has boosted Ewing’s confidence after a long season.
“I lost confidence throughout the year. Just seeing putts go in and being a confident putter, that’s where I’m at mentally,” Ewing said.
World No 52 Ewing, who began the day two back of leader Lee6, opened with a birdie and added two more on the par-five 2nd and 4th holes to take the lead.
Ewing landed her approach at the 10th at the edge of the hole for a tap-in birdie and dropped her approach inches from the cup at the par-five 12th to set up another birdie for a two-stroke edge.
Fassi lofted a spectacular hole-out eagle from the fairway at the par-five 15th, leaping into second at 15 under and into the air with joy and a fist pump after the shot fell.
“It was honestly the worst spot I could have left myself for my third shot,” Fassi said. “My only thought was just to hit it as high as you can and the result was an extra.
“I hit a fantastic golf shot and I’m just very happy that it went in and I could get some momentum for the last few holes. Seeing that was very cool.”
Ewing answered by rolling in an eight-foot downhill putt at the 15th to reach 17 under, completing her full set of par-five birdies.
Ewing found a greenside bunker at 17, her first missed green in regulation of the day, but pitched to three feet and sank her par putt.
At 18, Ewing was short of the green but pitched 18 feet past the hole and missed her putt for her lone bogey of the round.
Fassi had four birdies in the first seven holes before her lone bogey at the 8th.
Lin, chasing her first LPGA Tour title, began with a birdie, answered her lone bogey at the 5th with a birdie at the 6th and added a birdie at 16.
© Agence France-Presse