Canada’s Brooke Henderson birdied three consecutive back-nine holes and clung to a one-stroke lead over Japan’s Nasa Hataoka and American Angel Yin after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Canadian Open.
Henderson, trying to become only the second Canadian to win her homeland event after Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973, fired a two-under par 70 to stand on 14-under 202 after 54 holes at Wascana Country Club.
“That would be pretty sweet,” Henderson said of her chance at history. “It’s definitely a long way from that. There’s like a million players within five shots, so I definitely have to play my best and hopefully go low.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment to be this far, but I’m not done yet, so hopefully I can just have a great night — restful, sleep well — and then wake up tomorrow ready to go.”
After answering a bogey at the fifth with a birdie on the next hole, 20-year-old Henderson ran off birdies at the par-5 12th and 14th holes sandwiched around another at the par-4 13th.
It was enough of a cushion to keep Henderson on top as she and her nearest rivals stumbled on the final holes.
Henderson sank a clutch 20-foot par putt at 16 but missed a two-footer for par at the par-5 17th, trimming her lead to a single stroke.
“I made some putts, obviously left some out there, but overall I’m still very confident in it,” Henderson said. “I feel like I’m reading putts really well, so hopefully I can just continue that, reading putts properly, and knock them in tomorrow.”
Henderson seeks her seventh career LPGA title, one shy of Sandra Post’s record of eight by a Canadian, and second tour triumph of the season after the Lotte Championship in April at Hawaii.
Japanese 19-year-old Hataoka, who began the back nine with five birdies in seven holes, missed a five-foot par putt at 18 to settle for a 69 to stand on 203 with Yin, who could have led.
Yin, with a bogey and double bogey in the first three holes, birdied the first three par-5 holes and had an eagle chance from eight feet at 17 before lipping out twice and settling for par.
Yin stumbled again at 18, missing a six-foot birdie putt at the last to again settle for par and remain with Hataoka one adrift of the leader.
“Overall my game was good,” Yin said. “I grinded it out pretty well.”
Yin seeks her first LPGA title and comes off a share of fifth last week at Indianapolis.
Defending champion Park Sung-hyun of South Korea, who won last week in Indianapolis, was fourth on 204, one stroke ahead of Australian Su Oh and American Austin Ernst.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was in a pack on 206 with Aussie Minjee Lee, South Korean Amy Yang and Americans Mariah Stackhouse and Jennifer Song.