American Ernst takes LPGA tournament lead, Ciganda goes off the hook



American Austin Ernst in third round action of the LPGA Drive On Championship tournament.


© Michael Reaves
American Austin Ernst in third round action of the LPGA Drive On Championship tournament.

American golfer Austin Ernst took the lead of the Drive On Championship tournament on Saturday, her first lead after 54 holes on the LPGA circuit, while Spanish Carlota Ciganda fell from third to sixth joint position.

Ernst, 29, signed a 69-stroke card, three under par, for a total of 203 in the first three rounds at Ocala, Florida.

The American, number 33 in the PGA ranking, will start the last day one stroke away from her compatriot Jennifer Kupcho and six from a group formed by Jenny Coleman, the Swiss Albane Valenzuela and the Thai Patty Tavatanakit.

Eight strokes away are the American Danielle Kang, number five in the world, and the Spanish Carlota Ciganda, number 16, who on Saturday had an unfortunate round of 75 strokes, three over par.

American sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda, winners of the first two LPGA tournaments of the year, both rank 11th with 213 strokes, shared with five other players.

LPGA Drive On Championship tournament standings after Saturday’s third round (par-72):

1. Austin Ernst (USA)             203 (67-67-69)

2. Jennifer Kupcho(USA)           204 (67-67-70)

3. Albane Valenzuela (SUI) 209 (70-73-66)

. Patty Tavatanakit (THA) 209 (70-70-69)

. Jenny Coleman (USA)            209 (70-69-70)

6. Danielle Kang (USA) 211 (72-70-69)

. Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 211 (71-65-75)

8. Chun In-gee (KOR) 212 (70-73-69)

. Brittany Altomare (USA)        212 (70-73-69)

. Ashleigh Buhai (RSA) 212 (70-70-72)

11. Jessica Korda (USA) 213 (69-75-69)

. Nelly Korda (USA) 213 (67-70-76)

gph/gbv/gfe

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