Sarah Jane Smith comes out of nowhere to take big lead at U.S. Women's Open AP

After waking up before daybreak to complete her second round at the U.S. Women's Open, Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn said she would have little trouble sleeping on Saturday night as she heads into the final round with a four-stroke lead.

While Jutanugarn was fading, the 22-year-old Kim was rolling.

Smith shot a second successive five under 67 at Shoal Creek to forge a dominant advantage at 10 under overall after the Australian completed her round before a near three-hour delay for bad weather, which ultimately forced play to be halted early.

They each made par on the third playoff hole and then Ariya pounced at the fourth, hitting out of the bunker and tapping home an easy championship par putt tory as Kim missed her par putt.

Smith, who hails from Queensland, Australia, and resides in Orlando, is in her 12th year on the LPGA Tour, but has yet to win. She also won the Women's British Open in 2016.


Carlota Ciganda came in third on seven-under, amateur Patty Tavatanakit was fifth on two-under while England's Charley Hull was among seven players tied for 10th on par. It was a masterclass at times from Ariya, one of the highlights being a four-iron approach at the par-five 11th that covered the pin and led to a tap-in birdie.

They again missed the green, Kim in a bunker to the right and Jutanugarn over the putting surface in another bunker. "So I tee off on 11, I told my caddie, 'I don't know how to hit this one, '" Jutanugarn said.

"I've not been in this position before (in a major), but I feel comfortable on the greens here and hope tomorrow (Saturday) is like another day at the office".

"I think I'm going to sleep well tonight", Ariya said.

Ariya began the round three shots behind Smith and needed just three holes to close the gap to one as she gathered two early birdies. I felt like it was good change at the time, but turns out it wasn't.


"I feel great", Ariya said.

Lee, meanwhile, slipped down the leaderboard with a second-round 75 that left her eight adrift.

Anyone who watched surely enjoyed the affair, and they may also have been clued into a specific visual: Jutanugarn applauding successful shots made by Kim during their one-on-one playoff.

Thai Wichanee Meechai, a 25-year-old in her second LPGA season, was part of the celebration as well. I was sort of holing a lot of putts. "I have the last chance to make myself proud".

"I sent him a text message on Sunday and I said, I don't know what I'm doing". She took the lead after Smith stumbled with back-to-back bogeys and then surged ahead with three consecutive birdies on the back nine. "Maybe years ago when she won the last event on the Futures Tour to get a card at the end of 2008".


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