ANA Inspiration: Valenzuela Contends, Then Falls Back
Albane Valenzuela (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Albane Valenzuela (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA (March 31, 2018) - Albane Valenzuela made a push up the leaderboard at the ANA Inspiration on Saturday, getting within sight of the lead in the first women's professional major of the season.

The Stanford sophomore started the day tied for 8th, six shots behind the 36-hole co-leaders Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden and Sung Hyun Park of South Korea.

She started fast with two birdies in the first four holes, then made a string of pars to close out her front nine. Still 2 under for the round, she reached the par-5 12th in two shots, then rolled in a bomb from across the green for eagle to get to 10 under for the tournament, three shots behind the lead.

But Valenzuela ran into trouble coming in, losing two shots with a 6 on the par-4 15th, then losing another by bogeying the next hole. She managed to par the last two holes and post a 1-under 71, her third straight under par round, but one that was on pace to be much lower.

Valenzuela sits a 7-under 209 for three rounds, tied for 12th and now 7 shots behind the leader Lindberg.

The Switzerland resident has proven to be comfortable playing at this level, having made the cut in the ANA Inspiration two years ago. She has played in several Ladies European Tour events and represented her country in the 2016 Olympic Golf Tournament. She was also the runner-up in last year's U.S. Amateur and Ladies European Championship.

Three other amateurs made the cut and survived to play the weekend in the first women's professional major of the season.

Lilia Vu (Fountain Valley, CA), winner of four college tournaments this season for UCLA (including her last three), shot a 71 to get to 2 under.

15-year-old Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand, winner of the inaugural Asia-Pacific Women's Championship earlier this year, as well as a professional event on the Ladies European Tour last year, shot 72 to stay at 2 under.

Rose Zhang, a 14-year-old from Irvine, CA who won last week's ANA Junior Inspiration to earn the final spot in this week's field, shot 77 to fall down the leaderboard. Zhang is tied for 71st with one round to go at Mission Hills.

Round 3 Amateur Leaderboard

67-71-71=209 (T12) Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland)
71-71-72=214 (T34) Atthaya Thitikul (Thailand)
73-70-71=214 (T41) Lilia Vu (Fountain Valley, CA)
72-70-77=219 (T71) Rose Zhang (Irvine, CA)
70-76=146 (MC) Lucy Li (Redwood City, CA)
76-73=149 (MC) Sophia Schubert (Oak Ridge, TN)
77-75=152 (MC) Maria Fassi (Mexico)

Results: Chevron Championship (ANA Inspiration)
T30ThailandAtthaya ThitikulThailand80071-71-72-69=283
T40CALilia VuFountain Valley, CA70073-70-71-71=285
59SwitzerlandAlbane ValenzuelaSwitzerland50067-71-71-79=288
T60CARose ZhangIrvine, CA50072-70-77-70=289
MCCALucy LiRedwood City, CA070-76=146

View full results for Chevron Championship (ANA Inspiration)

ABOUT THE Chevron Championship (ANA Inspiration)

First women's professional major of the year, the Chevron (formerly the ANA Inspiration, and before that the Kraft Nabisco) Championship draws more than 100 of the best women professional golfers in the world, as well as the top-ranked amateurs in the country.

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