Feng made her only birdie of the day at the 54th hole to get back in front after being joined briefly at the top of the leaderboard by US Open specialist Amy Yang and impressive amateur Hye Jin Choi.
Feng reeled off 17 straight pars before finally picking up a stroke, the birdie at Trump National Bedminster’s par-5 18th giving her the outright lead for the third straight day.
As pedestrian as Feng’s round was there was plenty of adventurous play on day three including from former World Number One Stacy Lewis who suffered a back nine meltdown of epic proportions.
Lewis stood on the 11th tee 5-under for the day and just one shot out of the lead but endured a horrible triple bogey to fall back.
But the humiliation was only just beginning for Lewis who went on to wrack up a quintuple bogey 10 at the final hole courtesy of two disastrous chunked pitch shots which found water beside the green.
Lewis, however, wasn’t the only world class player to suffer the indignity of a shocking mis-hit with Amy Yang shanking her third shot from a greenside bunker at the third hole.
The unmentionable cost her two strokes and would have been the end of many a lesser player but Yang showed her tenacity by recovering with four birdies on the way to the clubhouse and a share of second place.
Yang’s record in this event is enviable with five top five finishes in 10 starts, two of those runner-up results, and she has again proved her metronomic swing a perfect match for the demanding test of the US Women’s Open.
Yang played alongside reigning Australian Women’s Amateur champion Hye Jin Choi who was equally impressive on day three and matched her more experienced playing partner’s 2-under 70.
Choi is just 17 years of age but has already been earmarked as a star of the future after a top 10 finish at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year.
She is aiming to become just the second amateur to win the title, Catherine Lacoste the only player to have achieved the feat in 1967.
Feng will have her hands full Sunday if she hopes to claim a second career major with some of the game’s best players sitting within five shots of her 9-under lead.
World Number One So Yeon Ryu is four back and T5 while LPGA rookie Sung Hyun Park, who was T3 last year, posted the equal best round of the day to be outright fourth.
Known for her aggressive play Park, a dominant force on the Korean LPGA Tour in recent years, was 1-over at the turn but torched the inward nine with six birdies and no bogeys to vault into contention.
Cristie Kerr is the best placed of the Americans in the field at 4-under and T8, Katherine Kirk the leading Australian at 1-over and T27.
A full wrap of the Australian performances can be found here.
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