Park aims for history in the LGPAs
That changed Saturday with a remarkable start, and a late ruling that put Park in the lead.
On the tough opening stretch at Royal Birkdale, she ran off three birdies that sent her to a 4-under 68. Then, Park went from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead when Ahn Sun-ju was penalized two shots after her round for building a stance in the bunker on the 18th hole.
“I definitely enjoyed it last year,’’ Park said. “But this year has just been a little bit different. Last year I enjoyed it and having pressure and experiencing something I never have experienced before. If I end up winning tomorrow, I’ll definitely enjoy this year better.’’
The 18 holes remaining could be a sprint among a dozen players.
Park had a one-shot lead over a pair of major champions - Suzann Pettersen of Norway (68) and Shanshan Feng of China (69) - along with Ahn. Julieta Granada (72) and Amelia Lewis (71) were another shot behind.
Ahn appeared to be the player to catch after what she thought was a 69 for a one-shot lead.
She was summoned to the rules trailer, where officials determined she used her left foot to build her stance in a pot bunker left of the 18th green. Ahn was assessed two shots for violating Rule 13-3. Her par turned into a double bogey. Her 69 became a 71. And she went from a one-shot lead in the final group to having to make up ground against Park, the LPGA Tour’s reigning player of the year.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s my mistake and I have to follow the rules of the game,’’ Ahn said through an interpreter. “I still have a day to go and I have to stay focused and try my best tomorrow.’’
The penalty also created a wide-open final round at Royal Birkdale.
Park was at 4-under 212, though 12 players were within three shots of the lead.
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