Holding the first 36-hole lead/co-lead of her LPGA Tour career, Ruoning Yin entered the third round of the DIO Implant LA Open at the top of the leaderboard and ended the day just the same. Her 4-under 67 on Saturday moved the 20-year-old to -14 overall and gave her a two-shot lead over second-round co-leader Hyo Joo Kim, who scored a 2-under 69 during round three.
Yin started the day with a birdie on 2 but couldn’t find a rhythm with her putter on her first-nine holes, going bogey-birdie-bogey on Nos. 8-10. She made a difference after a par at 11 with four birdies in the next six holes, including a consecutive trio on 12, 13 and 14. Birdies have come easily for Yin the past few days – she has 20 overall and the most in the field – and the second-year Tour player knows there are more to come, but only if she keeps the putter hot. On Friday she needed only 24 putts to get through the round, and on Saturday just 27.
“I was a little struggling with my putting on the front nine. After 8, which I made a bogey with a three-putt, I just told myself and I told my caddie, I said, we just got to trust the line and putt it. We'll make some putts,” Yin said. “I know I can make birdie on this course so I need to be patient and make the putt here.”
Kim sits in second place at -12 heading into the final day at Palos Verdes Gold Club. Her first- and second-round 66s helped her maintain a spot near the top despite a third round that saw only four birdies and two bogeys, and a number of low scores shot by other players on Saturday. Georgia Hall broke the tournament scoring record with a 9-under 62 just hours after Carlota Cignada came in with an 8-under 63. The tournament scoring record was previously 64 and held by seven different golfers. Hall’s front-nine 29 was a new career-low and included an eagle-birdie-eagle string from Nos. 5-7. The record-breaking round put her in solo third and earned her a spot in the final group on championship Sunday, where she’ll look to continue her momentum from last week’s LPGA Drive On Championship. Hall finished second in Arizona after losing in a one-hole playoff to Celine Boutier.
“It's been quite full on for me the last couple weeks. Yeah, late Sunday last week and it -- it's very mentally tough out there. You have to think a lot because there is a lot of the spin you can put on the ball,” said Hall. “So I think just really take this afternoon and get away from like thinking about golf and be fresh for tomorrow. I think that's my priority.”
Four players sit in a tie for fourth, including major-champion Danielle Kang, World No. 4 Atthaya Thitikul, defending champion Nasa Hataoka and Perrine Delacour.