Steady Xiyu Lin takes lead at HSBC

A birdie on the final hole gave China’s Xiyu Lin a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

Lin posted a 5-under 67 in Saturday’s third round to move to 14 under at the New Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, one stroke ahead of South Korea’s Inbee Park and Australia’s Hannah Green.

Lin, who will be seeking her first title on Sunday, rebounded from a bogey on the first hole with a birdie on the second to start her day.

“The first hole I was really nervous,” said Lin. “I thought like I’m going to hit longer because I’m nervous, but obviously I wasn’t that nervous, so I left it short and left the putt short. So, I just tell myself, like yesterday I had two bogeys and I bounced back with a birdie right away. I said, definitely I can do that.”

“Second hole was a tough pin, but I managed to hit it at the right spot and make the putt. That was pretty huge.”

Lin had another bogey on No. 7 but finished the round with four birdies over the final six holes to take the lead heading into the final round for the first time in her career.

“The last hole, when I did the pin, I was thinking, wow, it was a tough one, but I didn’t know they moved the tee up, so when I really got there and so it kind of gave me a new view of the hole because I never played here before,” said Lin. “I hit a good drive and realize I still have a chance to go for it. I was a little in between clubs, but that wind fits my shape of shot perfectly and hit a cut and landed right next to the hole.”

First-round leader and second-round co-leader Park, a two-time winner here, carded a 2-under 70 to sit one stroke back at 13 under. Green fired a second straight 6-under 66 to share second place.

Park had four birdies on the front nine and also birdied the final hole, but a double bogey on the par-5 16th was too much to overcome.

“It was a great birdie on No. 18,” said Park. “That really got me probably to have a chance to win tomorrow, so I think that was really huge. Tomorrow obviously we have a lot of girls in the top. It’s going to be a shootout (and) whoever plays good tomorrow is going to win.”

Green holed out with an 8-iron on No. 10 for an eagle, which she credited with helping save her round.

“I do think if it didn’t hit the pin, it was going to race a little by it, probably still on the green,” said Green. “Yeah, that was a lot of fun and gave me some good momentum to make a couple par saves on the next two holes.”

Mexico’s Gaby Lopez is another stroke back at 12 under after tying her best round of the season with a 7-under 65.

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