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Liu, Boutier share US Women's Open lead

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Miami (AFP)

China's Liu Yu fired a five-under par 66 on Saturday to seize a share of the third-round lead in the US Women's Open alongside good friend Celine Boutier of France.

Boutier, who played the last four holes of a second-round 70 on Saturday morning, returned to post a two-under par 69 in the third round at the Country Club of Charleston in South Carolina.

She and Liu, who forged their friendship when both played on the Duke University golf team that won the 2014 US collegiate title, were tied on seven-under 206, one stroke in front of Americans Lexi Thompson and Jaye Marie Green and 36-hole leader Mamiko Higa of Japan.

Boutier, who won her first LPGA title at the Vic Open in Australia in February, was alone in front on eight-under until her lone bogey of the round at the 16th.

Liu, seeking her first tour title, started the day four adrift but bounced back from a bogey at the third with three birdies on each side.

Higa, a 25-year-old playing her first US Women's Open, launched her debut with a sparkling 65 on Thursday, and led by one after a second-round 71.

Three birdies and three bogeys in her second straight even par effort wasn't enough to keep her on top.

Thompson was even for the day after two front-nine birdies and back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11. But an eagle at 15 followed by a birdie at 16 saw her surge into contention with a 68 for 207.

Green joined Higa and Thompson on six-under with a 68.

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