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Aussie Smith second at LPGA event

AAP logoAAP 12/11/2016

Seeking her first LPGA title, Australia's Sarah Jane Smith has stumbled into a tie for second after three rounds of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City.

Second-round leader Smith had an even-par 72 to sit on nine under going into the final round with American Austin Ernst rocketing to a one-shot lead.

"I was pretty nervous most of the day," Smith said.

"It was a position I've never been in before. I wouldn't say I handle it well, but I scrambled well, so that should give me some confidence for tomorrow."

Ernst shot her second straight five-under 67 on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) at Club de Golf Mexico after opening with a 72.

The 24-year-old American won the 2014 Portland Classic for her lone LPGA Tour title.

She leads at 10 under ahead of Spain's Carlota Ciganda who had a round of four under to join Jane Smith in second place.

Angela Stanford, the winner of the inaugural event in 2008 at Guadalajara Country Club, had a 69 to match Karine Icher (70) and Mi Jung Hur (71) at eight under.

Mexican amateur Maria Fassi had a 65 to get to six under.

She's a freshman at the University of Arkansas. Gaby Lopez also was six under after a 73 on her home course.

Canada's Brooke Henderson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, was four under after a 68.

Michelle Wie was tied for 20th at one under after a 74.

The 2009 winner in Guadalajara, she's playing on a sponsor invite after failing to qualify for the 30-player event.

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