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Olson stumbles, will have to rally past world's best player to get first LPGA win

Fargo golfer rallies from early double-bogey, but falls three shots behind No. 1-ranked Jutanugarn

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Fargo's Amy Olson shot a 3-under-par 69 Friday to take the lead at the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore after 36 holes. IMG/LPGA photo

If Amy Olson is going to get her first LPGA Tour victory, she'll have to overcome the world's No. 1-ranked golfer.

The Fargo golfer stumbled with an early double-bogey, but rallied to stay in contention Saturday after three rounds at the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore. Olson shot a 1-under-par 71 and is tied for fourth place at 8-under.

Ariya Jutunagarn, No. 1 in the world rankings, shot 66 is at 11-under-par. World No. 3 Minjee Lee carded a 5-under-par 67 for an overall total of -10, while England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff remains close behind at -9 after shooting a 4-under-par 68 in the third round.

Sitting three shots behind Jutanugarn is a quartet of players vying for their first HSBC Women’s World Championship win -- Olson, Jin Young Ko, Hyo Joo Kim and Azahara Munoz.

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"It wasn't playing easy out there, so honestly I'm just pleased with hanging in there and just fighting through it. It wasn't my best day, but salvaged it," Olson said.

Olson led by two shots after the second round, but double bogeyed the par 3 fourth hole while Jutanugarn was playing bogey-free. Olson's tee shot went left and into a hazard off the tee and she failed to save bogey.

"There was a pin on the right edge of the green downhill, and usually when the pin is on the right edge, I love to hit a cut into that," Olson said. "So I was really seeing that shot shape, and I was -- I ended up pulling it and just hitting it a little bit left, and there's a tree there. The wind just died. The wind didn't push it toward the pin and it caught up in the trees and went in the hazard. It was a tough up-and-down, so I didn't make my up-and-down."

Olson bounced back with a birdie on the fifth hole, but then caught a bad break on the par 4 sixth to drop back to 5-under.

"It's frustrating starting kind of what double-bogey pretty early in the round. Fortunately bounced back pretty quickly with a birdie on the next hole, and then caught a really tough lie on hole 5. Ended up plugging in the bunker," Olson said. "Sometimes it seems the days where you're not quite hitting it right is the days where you get the bad breaks, as well, and it was just one of those days. Usually everybody has one of those in a tournament, so I'm just going to go re-set and hopefully (Sunday) it will all go my way."

Olson made three birdies on the back nine, but mixed in two bogeys. She shot 36-35 on the 6,595-yard, par-72 Sentosa Golf Club.

She will have to rally past one of the LPGA Tour's best closers in Jutunagarn to win. This is Jutanugarn’s 12th start where she has held the lead or a share of the lead after 54 holes; she has won nine of the previous 11 events when she’s held the top spot going into the final round.

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Olson will tee off at 7:44 p.m. Saturday, Fargo time, for the final round. The tournament will be televised by Golf Channel from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Central.

"I think adversity, any time you face adversity, it's just an opportunity to learn from it and push through. Nobody gets through a tournament without making a bogey and it's really how you bounce back from it. It's not about avoiding it," Olson said. "Just trying to keep that mind-set and staying positive, staying in my process. Those are really important keys for me."

Related Topics: GOLFAMY OLSONNORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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