Defending champs Clanton, Suwannapura tied for LPGA lead

Sports

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Defending champions Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura shot a bogey-free 5-under 65 in alternate-shot play Friday to take a share of the lead into the final round of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

Pajaree Anannarukarn and Aditi Ashok had a bogey-free 67 to match Clanton and Suwannapura at 15-under 195 at windy Midland Country Club. The teams will close Saturday with a best-ball round.

“Because today was just so windy, it wasn’t easy at all for today,” said Suwannapura, from Thailand. “I’m glad that me and Cyd is very patient.”

She made birdie putts on the final two holes.

“We’ve played good, and I think again today we stayed very patient because we didn’t have many good looks until the very end, and then Jasmine made some clutch putts on 17 and 18,” Clanton said. “And so we stayed really patient again, so I think that was another good key today.”

Suwannapura and Clanton won the inaugural event by six shots in 2019. The tournament was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You play to be in contention, you play to be in the last group,” Clanton said. “You take some of the memories from 2019 and the good ones and try to use it, but really tomorrow is all about trying to play each hole at a time and try to have as many opportunities as possible, which is easier said than done, just because there’s history.”

Suwannapura and Clanton had their third straight 65, playing alternate shot Wednesday and best ball Thursday.

Anannarukarn, from Thailand, and Aditi Ashok, from India, are winless on the LPGA Tour.

“Since we’ve known each other for quite a few years, since junior golf, I think that’s definitely why I wanted to pair with her,” Anannarukarn said. “We can kind of enjoy each other out there, support each other.

European Solheim Cup players Carlota Ciganda and Mel Reid were 14 under after a 66.

Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, the Thai sisters who shot a 59 in best-ball play Thursday to take a two-stroke lead, had a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 13 under with Lim Kim and Yealimi Noh (66) and Mi Jung Hur and Jeongeun Lee6 (68).

Nelly and Jessica Korda, tied for the first-round lead after a 65, were 10 under after a 66. Nelly Korda is making her first start since winning the Meijer LPGA Classic and the KPMG Women’s PGA in consecutive weeks to take the No. 1 spot in the world. The sisters will represent the U.S. in the Olympics.

The Evian Championship, the fourth major of the year, is next week in France.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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