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Chasing first major title, Amy Yang takes 2-shot lead into final round of KPMG Women’s PGA

SAMMAMISH, Wash. (AP) — Amy Yang shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as she chases her first major victory.

Yang was at 7-under 209 at Sahalee Country Club, remaining steady around the greens on the tree-lined course that requires utmost accuracy and precision.

“I grew up watching so many great players in the past, and I saw them winning all the major championships, “Yang said. “I dreamed about playing out here because of them. I work hard for this.

"It’ll mean a lot, but we still got 18 more holes out there and that’s a lot of golf left for major championship.”

The 34-year-old South Korean player has five LPGA Tour victories, the last in November in the Tour Championship.

Lauren Hartlage and Miyu Yamashita were tied for second at 5 under.

Hartlage shot her second straight 69 for the only bogey-free round of the day. The American is winless in three seasons on the LPGA Tour.

“Never been in this position before and this is something that I dreamed about growing up as a kid,” Hartlage said. “So, it’s really awesome to be in this position and just kind of see how it goes and learn from every day, every round.”

Yamashita, from Japan, had her second 70 in a row. She’s an 11-time winner on the Japanese tour.

“I’m not thinking about much of winning,” Yamashita said through a translator. “I’m just focusing on each shot.”

Sarah Schmelzel, the American who shared the second-round lead with Yang, shot a 74 to drop to 4 under.

First-round leader Lexi Thompson had a 73 to drop into a tie for fifth at 3 under with Lilia Vu (68), Caroline Inglis (69), Jin Young (73) and Hinako Shibuno (73). Inglis is from Vancouver, Washington.

The 29-year-old Thompson recently announced this season will be her last playing a full schedule. Last week in Michigan, she lost in a playoff to Vu in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

“There was some tough pins out there, and of course the golf course is the golf course, so it’s tough,” Thompson said.

Vu had the best round of the day with her 68.

Yang went 39 holes without a bogey before dropping a shot on the par-4 eighth. She quickly recovered, hitting it 8 feet on the par-3 ninth and making the putt to get back to 6 under and take the solo lead.

Yang pushed her lead to two strokes, hitting the green in two on the par-5 11th for a two-putt birdie. She dropped another shot on the par-4 16th – her third bogey of the tournament – but followed with a 36-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.

___ AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

Luke Olson, The Associated Press