GOLF: JUN 24 LPGA KPMG Women's PGA Championship
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Jenny Shin wants to win more than anything. It sounds obvious, but that hasn’t always been the case.

Shin found success early in her golf career, won the U.S. Girls Junior at age 13, then started her professional career at age 17. Thirteen years later, now 30, Shin is in position to capture her first major championship, and only second tour title, after shooting a sensational bogey-free 5-under 66 Saturday during the third round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Shin’s lone LPGA victory came back in 2016 at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

“There was a period of time where I was happy not winning,” Shin admitted Saturday. “I was happy with playing decent golf.”

However, Shin made it perfectly clear that those days are long behind her. She badly wants to put together another solid round and close out the second women’s major of the season. She’s only one shot behind Ireland’s Leona Maguire, who won last week’s LPGA event. The two will play together in Sunday’s final grouping with Stephanie Meadow, who is looking for her first LPGA title.

“It was exciting,” said Shin, ranked 98th in the world. “I've not been here in a while, so kind of freed me up a little bit. It was nice to see that I can do it, so good day.”

It’s steady ball-striking that’s got Shin to this point so far. She’s played her last 21 holes without a bogey and during the second round she hit 15 of 18 greens and 12 of 14 fairways.

The start of the round Saturday was fairly quiet as she was 1 under after the first six holes. But she birdied Nos. 7 and 9 to make a move, then when she birdied the 14th and 16th holes she found herself tied for the lead, something that she relished seeing on the various leaderboards on Baltusrol’s last few holes.

The only real stress of the day came on the par-5 closing hole where Shin pulled her drive left and into the water. She dropped and hit 3-wood short of the green. Her ball came to rest on the right side of the fairway, inches from the rough and between two divots. Shin was able to pick the ball clean and pitched it to within 3 feet and made that to save par and shoot 66.

“It feels great to be where I am, and again, just knowing that I can be here is a massive improvement,” she said.

Speaking of improvements, Shin’s best results of the year have come in the past few weeks, a tie for 17th place at the Mizuho Americas Open at nearby Liberty National and a tie for sixth place two weeks ago at the ShopRite Classic outside Atlantic City with what she called her B-game.

There was a time when Shin played golf just to please her parents and a time when she felt like golf defined her. Now golf is a job to her, one that she loves dearly, and she’s found a way to practice smarter, not harder saying, “when does trying harder ever work, right?”

Whatever the formula, it’s working. This is the 58th major that Shin has played in and she’s only collected two top-10 finishes, once in 2014 and again in 2017. As she said, it’s been a while.

“It was like any other day today,” Shin said. “I wasn't as nervous. I wasn't as uptight. I wasn't desperate to leave the golf course.

“So, yeah, it's nice. It's nice being where I am, regardless of what happens tomorrow.”

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