South Korea’s In-bee Park celebrated her 26th birthday on Saturday by grabbing a one-shot lead at the Women’s British Open after compatriot Ahn Sun Ju was penalised two strokes.
With a third-round, four-under-par 68, the former world No 1 claimed the lead in a dramatic end to the third day at Royal Birkdale.
Ahn thought she had taken the lead on five under par after a 69.
But she was then penalised two shots for infringing Rule 13-3/3 in a green-side bunker at the final hole. She was deemed to have “built a stance” and so was docked two shots for a 71. It put her on three under par and in a share of second place with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and China’s Feng Shanshan.
Ahn, with 26 wins in Korea and Japan, said it had been pure ignorance that had caused the penalty.
“I didn’t know about the rule but all I was doing was trying to make a stance,” said the 26-year-old.
“I am surprised by it but if that’s the rule then I have to abide by it and just refocus. The ball was placed on a very upslope lie so it was hard to make a stance.”
Twelve months ago, Park, now the world No 3, was trying to make history by sweeping a fourth season’s major before coming up short.
“I quite enjoyed it, but it is much more relaxing than last year,” she said. “I’ll definitely enjoy this time more if I win tomorrow.”
England’s Justin Rose felt he may have lost his game somewhere over the Atlantic when he arrived for the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen this week feeling poorly.
Four days later the former US Open champion will take a share of the lead, along with Scotland’s Marc Warren, into the tournament’s final round after a superb third round of 66.
Rose, who won the Quicken Loans National on the US Tour two weeks ago, said: “I came here Wednesday and felt absolutely horrendous, but the last couple of days I have been finding my feet again and that’s part of the reason for playing here.
“I’m really happy with the way the game has progressed throughout the week. It would be great to win. I’m on a nice run at the moment and to keep it going would be fantastic. I’m still really enjoying the links golf and I think that’s what I came here to do, just keep playing the game and keep trying to work out the shots.”
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