Shi, Van Dam lead in Xiamen Ladies Open

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Netherlands' Anne Van Dam shot a five-under 67 to grab a share of the third-round lead at the Xiamen International Ladies Open on Saturday as overnight leader Shi Yuting (70) of China bogeyed the final hole to drop her first shot of the tournament.

Through 54 holes in Fujian province, the two were deadlocked at 13-under 203 in the 300,000-euro tournament, a co-sponsored event between the China LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour.

Thailand's Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (68) was two shots off the pace, while Chinese teenager Liu Yan shot a 65, the low round of the day, to sit equal fourth with Thai Ajira Nualraksa (70) at five shots back.

Going into the day with a three-shot lead, Shi could only muster a lone birdie at the par-five third hole to make the turn at 12-under. As playing partners Pannarat and Van Dam would both go on to take the outright lead on the back nine, Shi posted birdies at the 16th and 17th holes to regain a one-shot lead. At the last, her approach shot landed to right of the green and she missed a four-foot putt.

"I studied both my partners' stats entering this round and found out that they made more birdies than me for last two days. I knew that I needed to be patient for the whole round," said the 18-year-old Shi.

"At the 16th hole, I hit a good eight-iron and made a six-footer for a birdie. I think it's my shot of day and some kind of turning point. I made another birdie from 15 feet at the next hole. I felt disappointed about my iron play at the last hole. I just tried to put my ball into the middle of the green, but I didn't. Tomorrow, I have to get into a groove earlier."

Van Dam, a 21-year-old from Arnhem, who has won twice on the LET Access Series development tour, posted a solid bogey-free round featuring five birdies.

"A lot is going right. Last week in France I didn't play well at all and normally if I don't play well I practice a lot the next days, but I didn't have the will to practice so I took it quite easy and just relaxed. I had one practice day and took it one shot at a time and it's worked out pretty well so far," said Van Dam.

"Tomorrow is a different day and the Chinese will be rooting for their home player. I'm going to try to relax and do my best on every shot and we' ll see what happens in the end."

Rookie pro Liu demonstrated why she is a player to watch as the teenager carded a bogey-free round featuring seven birdies, including three consecutive starting at the 11th hole, to move into contention.

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