Yealimi Noh, the 17-year-old from Concord who got into the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis., through Monday qualifying, is one stroke behind going into Sunday’s final round as she chases her first LPGA Tour title.
She ended Friday’s second round one shot behind as well. The difference now is she is fifth place, as three other golfers joined second-round leader Sung Hyun Park atop the leaderboard.
Still, Noh is playing steady golf. Playing in the final pairing, she matched Park, the world No. 1, with a 3-under-par 69.
Park, Shanshan Feng (65), Tiffany Joh (66), and Ariya Jutanugarn (67) were at 20-under 196.
“It’s crazy,” Noh said. “I was always watching them on TV and seeing those names — and seeing my name up there and not having to scroll all the way down — it’s really weird. But it’s nice.”
Noh, 17, played in the final group with Park and matched her with a 69. Noh had a chance to share the lead until her 18-foot birdie chance on her final hole missed.
Feng and Joh each bogeyed the opening hole and made up for it with a series of birdies and an eagle on the par-5 13th. They will be in the final group Sunday as Joh, a UCLA alum, goes after her first LPGA Tour victory.
Photo: Stacy Revere / Getty Images
Right in front of them will be Park and Jutanugarn, both major champions who have been No. 1 in the world and captured all the big awards on the LPGA Tour.
Twelve players were separated by five shots going into the last round on a course known to give up low scores. A year ago, Sei Young Kim won at 31-under par.
PGA Tour: Cal alum Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff grew up about 30 minutes apart in Southern California and golfed against each other in high school.
Sunday’s competition could result in a much bigger reward. The first-month professionals are in prime positions for one to get his first career win at a first-time event.
Wolff shot a 9-under 62 to share the lead with Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau at 15-under after three rounds of the inaugural 3M Open in Blaine, Minn. Morikawa shot a 7-under 64 at TPC Twin Cities; DeChambeau a 1-under 70.
Seeking his first tour win in 31 tour starts, Wyndham Clark shot a 64 and was tied with Adam Hadwin (69) one shot back.
Wolff, 20, who won the NCAA individual title on Memorial Day, is playing in his third event since turning pro, Morikawa, 22, his fourth. They’re the final pairing Sunday.
“It’s on a lot bigger stage, but our games played very well throughout the spring,” said Morikawa, named the Pac-12 Men’s Golfer of the Year in May. “We’re going to have to control our nerves, remember who we are, what brought us out here.”
European Tour: Robert Rock narrowly missed a 30-foot putt for eagle that would have given him the second round of 59 in European Tour history. The Englishman settled for a birdie, a 10-under 60 and first place on 13-under overall after the third round of the Irish Open in Lahinch.
Rock made 11 birdies, including six straight to close his round. His putt for eagle at the last was from just off the green, and it slid left of the cup. Rafa Cabrera-Bello (63) will join Rock in the last group, one shot off the lead along with Eddie Pepperell (66).
British says no to Daly: Organizers of the British Open have denied a request by former champion John Daly to use a golf cart at the championship in Royal Portrush this month. Daly had applied to use a cart because of his arthritic right knee.
The R&A said it was declining the request because “walking the course is an integral part of the championship and is central to the tradition of links golf.”
The PGA of America allowed Daly to use a cart at this year’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Daly, the 1995 champion at St. Andrews, said he is aiming to take part in the British Open nonetheless, adding “fingers crossed I can make it thru the pain.”