Jenny Shin leads in N.J., looking to end 8-year win drought

Jenny Shin’s lone LPGA victory came more than eight years ago.

Shin is in contention to end that drought as she holds the lead at 10-under 132 entering the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J.

The South Korean shot a 2-under 69 on Saturday and sits one shot ahead of Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela, who carded a second-round 68 on Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course.

Megan Khang, South Korea’s Narin An and the Taiwan duo of Ssu-Chia Cheng and Wei-Ling Hsu are all tied for third at 8-under 134.

Japan’s Yuka Saso, who won her second U.S. Women’s Open last weekend, missed the cut by three strokes after shooting 69-73 over the first two rounds.

Shin, 31, has only been victorious at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in 2016. She tied for 19th at last week’s Open.

But she recorded a stellar 63 in the opening round, two shots behind Arpichaya Yubol of Thailand. Shin’s second round was a bit bumpier with six birdies against four bogeys, twice carding bogeys in back-to-back holes.

“This golf course is pretty forgiving if you miss it in the right place,” Shin said. “I feel like I don’t know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, but you need a little bit of luck.

“You need to make the birdies when they come and you just can’t make bogeys. So tomorrow is always about patience I think.”

Valenzuela had five birdies and two bogeys in her round and will be seeking her first LPGA victory since turning professional in 2019. She tied for 29th at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“My game has been feeling good over the last few months and just putting didn’t necessarily catch up to it, and I’m finally seeing some better rolls,” Valenzuela said. “I think that’s how it gets reflected on the scorecard.

“Coming out of last week I think was a really good prep. It was such a hard course and such a grind, and you get here and definitely see more birdies than last week. Last week was a luxury to get birdie looks.”

Khang carded three birdies and one bogey on Saturday. Her lone career victory came in the Canadian Women’s Open last August.

“I will admit I haven’t been here in a hot minute,” Khang said of being near the top of the leaderboard. “The environment, the people, they’re all so welcoming. It’s really cool out there when you have fans just following you around rooting for me. Reminds me to come back to ShopRite.

“And it’s fun always being at the top, in contention, having a chance.”

Yubol didn’t come close to her torrid first-round score as she shot 4-over 75 on Saturday to drop into a tie for 14th at 6 under.

Saso had just two birdies and was hurt by two bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-3, No. 11.

A worse fate met Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, who left the course Friday tied for fourth with a 65 and was informed prior to her Saturday round that she had been disqualified for multiple rules violations.

Hataoka had a wayward second shot on No. 9 on Friday and had trouble finding her ball in the long fescue that surrounds the green. Though she eventually retrieved the ball, LPGA officials reviewed video footage and said it took her longer than the maximum three minutes to find it.

The LPGA also said that because the three-minute window had lapsed, Hataoka was required to return to where she previously played the shot. Hataoka had until leaving the scoring area to correct her mistake, according to the LPGA.