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Hyo Joo Kim takes 5-stroke lead into final round at Ascendant

Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea widened her lead with a 1-under 70 in the third round of The Ascendant LPGA on a windy Saturday at the Colony, Texas.

Ranked No. 7 in the world, Kim moved to 11-under 202 and will head into Sunday’s final round with a five-stroke lead over Sarah Kemp of Australia (69 on Saturday) and Lexi Thompson (71).

Kim ran into a bit of early trouble with bogeys on Nos. 4 and 6 but rebounded on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 16.

Kemp, who was tied for ninth after the second round, overcame five bogeys Saturday with five birdies, along with an eagle on the par-4 15th hole.

“Yeah, didn’t realize the tee was going to be moved up today,” Kemp said of the 15th hole. “It’s a great move-up by the LPGA because it’s not an easy — even short is a difficult chip. Long is difficult chip on that green. … Just happened to play it perfectly.

“Got a great bounce from the front of the green and I had, what, maybe five feet for eagle, so that was awesome.”

Thompson, who led the field with a 65 on Friday to move into a tie for third, bogeyed three of her first four holes Saturday before settling down with three birdies on the back nine.

“Definitely played a lot more difficult out there,” Thompson said. “I didn’t get off to the best of starts. Seemed to be super windy in the first four, five holes, and then kind of calmed down and came back up here and there.”

Sweden’s Frida Kinhult jumped from T15 to third with a 68, tying her for the low round of the day despite a double bogey on 14.

“I was laughing with my caddie,” Kinhult said of the double bogey. “I said, ‘Better to take all at once.’ I kind of saved that double. It wasn’t a gimme double. I had to work it in.”

South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu (68), Sarah Schmelzel (69) and Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup (70) are tied for fifth at 4-under.

Five players are tied for eighth, including Sofia Garcia of Paraguay, who dropped from second place with a third-round 76.

–Field Level Media

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