Home Stroke Patty Tavatanakit leads by five at ANA Inspiration

Patty Tavatanakit leads by five at ANA Inspiration

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Patty Tavatanakit opened a five-stroke lead on another hot and windy afternoon at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, all but crushing her challengers’ hopes with a striking combination of power and touch.

A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds at Mission Hills, the 21-year-old Thai player shot a five-under-par 67 in 100-degree heat Saturday to reach 14-under 202 in the first major championship of the year.

Tavatanakit matched the tournament 54-hole record set by Pernilla Lindberg in her 2018 victory. Dottie Pepper set the overall mark of 19 under in 1999.

Defending champion Mirim Lee and Ally Ewing were second at nine under in the event being played without spectators for the second time in seven months.

Tavatanakit crushed drives — hitting a 337-yarder on the par-five 11th — and was equally as effective on and around the greens. The former UCLA star birdied the first three holes, holing a 20-footer on the par-four third. She holed a 12-footer for birdie on the par-five ninth after hitting her second into a greenside bunker and made a 15-footer on No. 11 to open a five-stroke lead.

After a series of par saves, she couldn’t get a four-footer to drop on the par-four 12th. She rebounded with a wedge to four feet for a birdie on the par-four 13th, and made an eight-footer on the par-four 15th.

Tavatanakit bogeyed the par-three 17th, failing to get up-and-down from a difficult lie in a greenside bunker. She escaped the par-five 18th with a par after her third shot spun off the front of the green to the edge of the water.

The tour rookie is trying to become the sixth straight international winner in the tournament celebrating its 50th edition. She won seven times in two seasons at UCLA and had three victories on the Symetra Tour in 2019.

Lee shot a 68, wearing a facemask while she played. The South Korean player won the postponed event in September for her first major title.

Ewing had a bogey-free 66. The American won last year at Reynolds Lake Oconee for her first tour title, playing then under her maiden name of McDonald.

Shanshan Feng, a stroke behind playing partner Tavatanakit entering the round, was eight under after a 72. The Chinese star is making her first start after sitting out 16 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a visa delay.

Inbee Park and Charley Hull were seven under.

Park shot a 70. The 2013 winner at Mission Hills, she won last week in her first start of the year.

Hull had a triple bogey on No. 3 and a closing bogey in a 71.

Americans Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Jessica Korda were undone by big numbers.

Lewis played the first 13 holes in eight under, then made a triple bogey on 14 in a 67 that left her four under.

Korda was the first player on and off the course, teeing off by herself at 7:55 a.m. and finishing a 68 in 2 hours 52 minutes. She closed with a double bogey to fall to three under after laying up into a divot and hitting her third shot into the water.

Thompson finished with a quadruple-bogey nine for a 75 to fall to one over. The 2014 winner had a triple bogey on No. 3.

Jordan Spieth tied for lead in Texas

Jordan Spieth shot a five-under 67 to move into a tie for the lead heading into the final round of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

Spieth and Englishman Matt Wallace are at 12 under after each player birdied their final two holes of the day. Wallace also posted a 67, and Charley Hoffman is alone in third at 10 under after shooting a 65.

Hoffman was seven shots back after a bogey at No. 4, but he finished up with six birdies and sank a five-foot eagle putt at the 14th. He won here five years ago.

Three consecutive bogeys early on the back nine sent second-round leader Cameron Tringale to a one-over 73 that put him at eight under for the tournament. India’s Anirban Lahiri is at seven under after a 69.

Tom Hoge finished with five birdies and moved up 26 spots on the leaderboard with a third-round 66. He is in a group of four players at six under that includes Lucas Glover (70), Gary Woodland (67) and Matt Kuchar (70).

The start of play was delayed 2½ hours by rain.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2021-04-03/patty-tavatanakit-beats-heat-opens-five-stroke-lead-at-ana-inspiration

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