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Thompson grabs 1-shot lead

TORONTO, Canada (AFP) – Lexi Thompson closed in on her second victory of the season after firing a five-under-par 67 to grab a one-shot lead at the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario on Saturday.

Lexi Thompson  (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Lexi Thompson (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Thompson, 22, who won last month’s Kingsmill Championship in Virginia, reeled off five birdies and no bogeys in a flawless display at Whistle Bear Golf Club.

Thompson’s round left her with a 54-hole aggregate 199 at 17 under, one clear of fellow American Lindy Duncan, who also shot a 67 on Saturday.

A further shot back from Duncan is Chun In-Gee of South Korea, who remained in the hunt with a 68.

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn shot a blistering seven-under-par 65 to move into contention at 14 under, three off the lead, alongside Canada’s Alena Sharp.

Thompson completed her round with a birdie on the last but said consistency had been the key to another solid display.

‘‘There was just more shot-making and some pins were pretty difficult to get to,’’ she said.

‘‘It was more just making pars and getting off the hole.’’

Duncan meanwhile – who is 172 places behind world number four Thompson in the rankings – will be looking for a strong final round on Sunday as she aims to improve on her highest ever finish, a tie for 16th.

‘‘Hit my driver well today, and I would say I’ve been hitting fairways and hitting greens and really rolling the putter well,’’ Duncan said.

‘‘When I have gotten in trouble, I’ve been able to get up and downs for par. Those have been key up and downs.’’

Duncan now faces the prospect of playing in the final group on Sunday for the first time in her professional career.

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