SYLVANIA, Ohio — Lucy Li started a round in the lead for the first time in her career on the LPGA Tour and she didn’t falter. The 19-year-old American bounced back from a slow start and turned 67 (minus-4) to give herself a one-shot priority at the Dana Open on Saturday.
After seven pennants, Li was two strokes over par and was slowly slipping out of title contention on the Highland Meadows course. She responded, however, with six birdies over the next 10 holes to regain the lead and give herself a better chance for the final round.
American Lexi Thompson (65) had three straight birdies late in the round as Germany’s Caroline Masson (65) finished her round with three straight birdies. They are one step behind Li.
Six golfers share the fourth rung three shots from the lead. Two-time tournament champion Lydia Ko had the best round of the day when she shot 64.
“I was probably a little nervous. It wasn’t anything major, but I hadn’t been nervous for a long time, Li confessed. Doing those bogeys might have helped me a bit. I got rid (of the pressure) and I knew that I could play a little in peace.
Li completed the first three rounds in 199 strokes, 14 less than par.
Li’s greatest achievement is becoming the youngest player in US Open history. She pulled off the feat aged 11 in 2014.
She has won twice this year on the Epson Tour which allowed her to obtain one of the 10 cards for the LPGA Tour in 2023.
Ontario’s Brooke Henderson (65) continued her rise in the rankings and is part of a group of five golfers who share the 11th place. They are four strokes behind the leader.
The other Canadian women in the running, however, struggled. Maude-Aimée Leblanc (72) and Maddie Szeryk (74) fell in the standings.