Ciganda leads North Texas LPGA Shootout

IRVING, Texas — Carlota Ciganda shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over the world’s No. 1 player and an LPGA Tour rookie into the final round of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.

Ciganda had only one bogey in the third round. Even after driving right into a concrete drainage ditch on No. 12, the Spaniard hit the half-submerged ball out of the water to about 10 feet and made the birdie putt. She was at 11-under 202 after her second 66 of the week.

Top-ranked Inbee Park from South Korea finished her 67 with consecutive birdies. Caroline Masson, the leader after each of the first two rounds, recovered from an opening double bogey for a 69 that included a birdie at the par-5 18th.

Na Yeon Choi, the No. 3 player, was 8 under after a bogey-free 66.

After trailing Masson for two days, Ciganda finally took the lead after opening the third round with a par. That was the same hole that Masson, one of her playing partners in the final group, had 6.

Masson had managed to hold on to the lead through the first two rounds even after bogeys on three of her last four holes Friday.

But that lead was gone soon after Masson’s approach shot at No. 1 dropped short and buried into a greenside bunker. The 23-year-old German then blasted over and through the green, dropping a stroke behind Ciganda.

Ciganda played last season on the Ladies European Tour, where she was the top rookie and the top money winner — the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to accomplish that.

Masson, who played the last three years in Europe, was the second-leading money leader last year behind Ciganda.

Now they will both be going for their first LPGA Tour victory.

Ciganda has the same agent as fellow Spaniard golfer Sergio Garcia, who the 22-year-old calls a good friend. Garcia was 21 when he got his first PGA Tour victory not far from Las Colinas Country Club at the 2001 Colonial, then got another victory three years later at the Byron Nelson Championship played only a few blocks away.

Choi, a seven-time LPGA Tour winner, has played 35 consecutive holes without a bogey. The 25-year-old South Korean was tied briefly for the lead after birdies on three of her first four holes Saturday.

Jee Young Lee (67), Karine Icher (67), Christina Kim (67) and So Yeon Ruy (68) were tied for fifth at 6 under.

This is the first full-field LPGA event in North Texas since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open. The area hasn’t been an annual tour stop since 1982.

When the initial cut was made at 3 over after the second round, 80 of 144 players made it. There was another cut after the third round, with 51 players advancing at 1 over or better.

Haley Mills and Taylor Coleman, the Texas teenagers who made into the field through a Monday qualifier for high school students, made it Saturday but didn’t make the cut to play in the final round. Coleman, who was tied for third place after an opening 68, followed with rounds of 77 and 78 to finish 10-over 223, three strokes behind Mills (73-71-76).

Brittney Lang, who is from nearby McKinney, was in shock after finishing her even-par third round at the No. 9 hole. That is when her boyfriend came onto the green, went to a knee and proposed marriage. Lang said yes.

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