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Americans Kupcho and Salas grab lead in LPGA pairs event

Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational - Round Three
Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational - Round Three

Washington: Americans Jennifer Kupcho and Lizette Salas combined to shoot a six-under par 64 and seize a four-stroke lead after Friday's third round of the LPGA Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

The US duo delivered the lowest score of the tournament in the alternate-short format to stand on 17-under 193 entering Saturday's final round at Midland (Michigan) Country Club.

"We made some really great shots and clutch putts," Salas said. "We really stayed patient and knew we were going to perform. We came down the stretch really strong and we're going to use that momentum tomorrow."

After playing alternate-shot format in the first and third rounds, the last round, like the second, will feature a four-ball (best ball) format.

"It's just being patient and knowing we'll be there for each other," said Kupcho of her final-day strategy. "There are going to be a lot of low scores for sure. No one is going to be out of it."

Malaysia's Kelly Tan and Finland's Matilda Castren fired a 67 to stand second on 197.

France's Pauline Roussin and Dutch team-mate Dewi Weber, an LPGA rookie duo who led by three strokes after 36 holes, shot 73 and fell to a share of third on 199 with South Korean Kang Hae-ji and Hong Kong's Tiffany Chan.

Kupcho and Salas turned a three-stroke deficit into a four-stroke lead with a bogey-free round.

They birdied the sixth, seventh and eighth then closed on a hot streak with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.

Kupcho and Salas took a win and tie in four-ball and a foursomes victory together in last year's Solheim Cup loss to Europe.

"We create something really special out on the golf course," Salas said. "We don't have to think about it much."

Kupcho, 25, won her first major title in April at the Chevron Championship and took her second LPGA victory last month at the Meijer Classic.

Salas, 32, won her only LPGA title in 2014 at the Kingsmill Championship. She's a three-time major runner-up, including last year at the Women's British Open and Women's PGA Championship.

Tan, 28, has never won an LPGA title while 27-year-old Castren's only LPGA crown came at last year's Mediheal Championship. -- AFP

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