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Feb 18, 3:24 AM EST

American Salas takes 54-hole lead at Women's Australian Open

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ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) -- American Lizette Salas shot a 2-under 71 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over two Australians and a Thai golfer heading into the final round of the Women's Australian Open at Royal Adelaide.

Salas, who had a 10-under total of 209, was 1 over after the front nine, but rescued her round with back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes and another on the par-5 17th.

Despite her poor start, she joked about her round later.

"I started to think whether or not I tied my hair up too tight, or whether I should take off my sweater," Salas said. "I didn't get a start that I wanted to but today I felt like even par literally felt like under par. I rolled in a few putts when I needed to."

South Korean-born Australian Su Oh had the round of the day, a 68, and was tied for second with fellow Australian and 36-hole leader Sarah Jane Smith (74) and Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand (73).

"It's a little disappointing, I feel like I played pretty well," Smith said. "I made a lot of soft bogeys today, where I feel like today's the day where if you made some bogeys you'd be OK. Hopefully, we can get on top of that for tomorrow."

Defending champion Haru Nomura of Japan had a second consecutive 69 and was in a group tied for seventh, four strokes behind.

No. 2-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, the LPGA's Player of the Year and a five-time winner in 2016, shot a 71 and was at 4-under. Michelle Wie shot 76 and was at 2-under, eight strokes behind.

No. 1-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand was at even par after a 73 on Saturday, as was Canada's Brooke Henderson.

Ko has a new coach, caddie and equipment.

"It takes time to get used to, but with the clubs actually, it hasn't really taken a long time," Ko said "Straight away I had a rough idea how far it was going and the flight itself. It's something that I can trust, even though it's only my first tournament with them."

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