Hinako Shibuno takes one-shot lead into final round of US Women's Open

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, the 2019 AIG Women’s Open champion, takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the 75th US Women’s Open in Texas.

Hinako Shibuno of Japan looks on during the third round of the 75th US Women's Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. Picture: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The 22-year-old, who started the day with a three-shot cushion, opened with a bogey as she carded a 74 - her over-par round of the week - at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

That three-over effort on the Cypress Creek Course left her sitting on four-under, just ahead of American Amy Olson (71).

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Shibuno, who dropped shots at both the 14th and 18th, said the nerves of being in the final group played a factor in her Saturday struggles, as well as the feeling of not having fans outside the ropes.

“Last year when I won the major (at Woburn), there was a large number of people out in front of me and because of the audience, that gave me power and also it's easy for me to get on a momentum as well,” said Shibuno, golf’s ‘Smiling Cinderella’.

“However, now there's no people, no audience and it's very difficult for me to get on a momentum, because when I get a run of birdies, when I get the birdie, it's silence.”

Olson, who led after an opening 67 that included a hole-in-one, nearly holed out from the fairway with an 8-iron at the 17th as she earned a place in the final group.

“I'm really pleased with how I played today. It was such a grind,” said Olson, who played in the final group at the 2018 ANA Inspiration and 2018 Evian Championship but came up short on both occasions. “Pars were a great score on every single hole today.”

Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (72) and Korean Ji Yeong Kim2 (67) are joint-third on one-under, with former Kiwi Lydia Ko (72) lurking in a group on level-par.

Playing alongside Shibuno in Saturday’s final group, amateurs Linn Grant and Kaitlyn Papp shot seven-over and four-over respectively to drop down the leaderboard.

Today’s fourth-round tee times have been moved to 7:45 am CST due to anticipated inclement weather.

Play will still begin on the first and 10th tees of the Cypress Creek Course.

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