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Golf roundup: Inbee Park has 1-shot lead at Royal Birkdale

Associated Press A late ruling took Inbee Park from 1 shot behind to leading the Women’s British Open on Saturday, the slightest head start in her quest to become only the seventh player to win four of the LPGA Tour’s major championships. Park handled the tough opening stretch at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, with three birdies and shot a 4-under 68, giving her a 1-shot lead over fellow major champions Suzann Pettersen of Norway (68) and Shanshan Feng of China (69), along with Ahn Sun-Ju of South Korea. Ahn appeared to be the player to chase after what she thought was a 69 for a 1-shot lead. She was summoned to the rules trailer, where officials determined she used her left foot to build her stance in a pot bunker left of the 18th green. Ahn was assessed 2 shots for violating Rule 13-3. Her par turned into a double bogey. Her 69 became a 71. And she went from a 1-shot lead in the final group to having to make up ground against Park, the LPGA Tour’s reigning player of the year. The penalty also created a wide-open final round at Royal Birkdale. Park was at 4-under 212, though a dozen players were within 3 shots of the lead. One of them was Charley Hull, the go-for-broke English teenager who made nine birdies early Saturday for a tournament-best 66 that suddenly put her into contention to become the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history. She was at 1-under 215. Also in the mix was Mo Martin, the 31-year-old American done in by a four-hole stretch on the back nine that sent her to a 77. She also was at 215, along with former U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu, who made one bad decision and one bad swing, both leading to double bogey. Defending champion Stacy Lewis had a 70 and was 3 shots behind. Park has been virtually ignored all week, a huge change from a year ago. The 26-year-old South Korean had a chance at St. Andrews last summer to become the first player, male or female, to win four straight majors in one season. The pressure and attention was enormous, and she wound up in the middle of the pack. “I didn’t have much pressure,” she said of her week at Royal Birkdale. “Really just try to play my own golf. Yeah, I start to feel a little bit of pressure from now and tomorrow. But I’d rather be having the pressure than not being in contention.”

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