Choi joins An at summit

OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Choi Hye-jin fired a five-under par 66 to match South Korean compatriot An Na-rin for the lead after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Canadian Women’s Open.

The LPGA rookies, standouts on the Korean tour each chasing her first LPGA crown, shared the top spot on 16-under 197 after 54 holes at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.

South African Paula Reto, chasing her first LPGA victory as well, was on 198 with Americans Nelly Korda and Sarah Schmelzel sharing fourth on 201.

An held a two-stroke lead after Saturday morning’s completion of the rain-interrupted second round and stretched her advantage with an early run that saw her birdie the par-4 second, the par-3 fifth and par-5 sixth.

But An followed a birdie at 12 with a bogey at 13 to stand on 16-under while Reto and Choi each made a birdie at the par-3 15th to pull within one stroke.

It felt really nice to get the win in Spain, reassure myself I could win and give myself good momentum coming in here.

Choi birdied the 16th, her fifth birdie in eight holes, to match An for the lead and they stayed deadlocked to the finish.

An, 26, had a season-best finish of third at Carlsbad in March. She shot 68 on Saturday.

Reto, who fired a course-record 62 on Thursday, shot 67 on Saturday and hopes to follow on after taking her first pro title in February in South Africa.

“I’m able to be more consistent on the golf course,” Reto said of her improvement.

“It’s nice to see the shots and be able to pull them off.”

Korda, the Tokyo Olympic champion, won a Ladies European Tour title last week in Spain and could become world No. 1 with a victory Sunday.

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