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Inbee Park, Ko dueling for Rio Gold, Piller in mix

Round Three – RIO OLYMPICS – Women’s Golf Competition —

Inbee Park (11-under) leads the way in Rio in the Women’s Golf Competition through three rounds.

Park, the former Rolex Ranking World No. 1 from South Korea, has battled injury all season. She showed up in Rio as an unknown golf commodity with mixed expectations. After opening rounds of 66-66, Park coasted to 70 Friday in more difficult conditions to reach 11-under and secure a two-shot advantage heading into the final round with the Gold Medal lying in wait.

Park sits two ahead of current World No. 1 Lydia Ko. The New Zealand representative has 14 victories including two major titles. She rallied with a front-nine 29 in round three to match up ground and race up the leader board. She finished with 6-under-65 to close out 54 holes at 9-under alongside American Gerina Piller.

A host of players are in the race for medals including those at T-5 including In Gee Chun, Hee Young Yang and Charley Hull. American Stacy Lewis, who slipped back with a 76 Friday, is part of a group at T-8 and 4-under alongside Brooke Henderson, Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist. All have a shot at Silver and Bronze one would expect.

Although Park has seven major titles, the weight of the Gold might tax her in the final round with Ko in hot pursuit. While Ko was the betting favorite at 3-to-1 odds at www.skybet.com, Park opened at an eye-popping 40-1. Piller and China’s Shanshan Feng (4eurotourlogoth place at 8-under just three back) were both 25-1 selections.

Other Golf News:

  • Thomas Pieters (10-under) co-leads the European Tour’s C+C Real Czech Masters through two rounds. Pieters, who finished
    4th last week at the Rio Olympics, is the defending champion at the Czech Masters. Matthew Fitzpatrick anPGA TOURd Tommy Fleetwood are 6-under and T-3 with 36 holes to play.
  • South Korea’s So-Woo Kim shot 60 in round two at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship. He moved to 12-under and currently leads by two shots over Rafa Cabrera-Bello (who was 5th last week in Rio) and three ahead of overnight co-leader Kevin Na. Both RCB and Na have several holes to finish up round two action. Kim opened as a 125-1 long shot to win the tournament.
  • Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn led after round one in Rio with a 65. She withdrew Friday in third-round action sighting injury. She was 12-over through 13 holes on her round. Jutanugarn, Rolex Ranking No. 2, has four LPGA Tour titles this year including the RICOH British Women’s Open and is challenging Ko for Player of the Year honors with about a dozen events remaining in the season.