After three rounds of play at the Country Club of Charleston, Yu Liu and Celine Boutier share the U.S. Women’s Open lead at 7-under par.
The former Duke teammates, who won the 2014 NCAA Women’s Golf National Championship, will be paired together for Sunday’s final round.
Liu, a native of Beijing, finished her third day in Charleston, South Carolina with one bogey against six birdies, including a birdie at the difficult par-3 11th hole, en route a co-low round of 5-under 66.
If Liu coverts on Sunday, she would become the first Chinese to win a major golf championship.
“I think this is something that’s really out of my expectations because it’s only my first ever U.S. Open. I was just happy to make the cut and being able to play the weekends. But now it’s something that I didn’t really expect,” said Liu, who played in the final round of the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, where she bogeyed the final hole to drop out of a potential playoff.
“Definitely just trying to embrace the moment, playing with my great friend, possibly on the last group tomorrow. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Co-leader Boutier carded birdies at Nos. 5, 9 and 13 to pull two strokes clear of the field, but a bogey on No. 14 dropped her into a tie for the lead.
With a win, Boutier would join Catherine Lacoste (1967) as the only Frenchwomen to win the U.S. Women’s Open.
“Honestly, everything was going well. I feel like I was hitting the ball pretty good and pretty straight,” said Boutier, who now lives in Dallas. “Then when I was missing a couple of greens, my short game was there to save me. I feel like all around, my game was pretty solid.”
A trio of players were one off the pace, and tied for third, including Americans Lexi Thompson and Jaye Marie Green, who carded matching 68s, while 18- and 36-hole leader Mamiko Higa carded her second straight even-par 71.
Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 69 to move up to T27 at 1-over par.
2019 U.S. Women’s Open
Top 5: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 3)
1. Yu Liu -7 (-5)
1. Celine Boutier -7 (-2)
3. Mamiko Higa -6 (E)
3. Jaye Marie Green -6 (-3)
3. Lexi Thompson -6 (-3)
Sunday’s Final Pairings
- 2:20 pm: Celine Boutier, Yu Liu
- 2:09 pm: Lexi Thompson, Jaye Marie Green
- 1:58 pm: Mamiko Higa, Jeoung Lee6
Video: Round-3 Highlights
“I don’t really mind either way. But I think when I played with her before, she was very focused and kind of in her own bubble. So I don’t think for her it matters as much. For me, I enjoy playing with her. But, I mean, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of interaction. I’m not sure.
“The last time I played with her in a competitive round, we didn’t interact very much. She didn’t have a very good day, and I didn’t either. So maybe that’s why, but we’ll see.”
– Celine Boutier (-7, T1), on playing with former teammate Yu Liu