- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) - Juli Inkster heard plenty of cheers as she walked up the 18th fairway Saturday at the U.S. Women’s Open.

It was hard to tell whether they were for her past - or her present.

Playing her 35th and final Women’s Open, Inkster shot the best round of the tournament at Pinehurst No. 2 - a 66 that put her in a tie for third, four strokes back.

“It’s great - I’m going to be right in the mix,” Inkster said. “Let’s just say I’m in a lot better shape today than I was (Friday). I knew I had to come out here, if I wanted to do anything, and have a good round and I was able to put it together today.

“So who knows tomorrow?” she added. “I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Inkster - who turns 54 on Tuesday - made the cut at her first Women’s Open as an 18-year-old in 1978, won it in 1999 at Old Waverly and then did it again three years later at Prairie Dunes.

Sunday will be one for the Hall of Famer to savor - both because it will be her last at a Women’s Open, and because it’s been a while since she played a fourth round at one. Inkster missed the cut in each of the past four years.

She had five birdies in her third round - three on the front nine - and the only blemish was a bogey on the par-4 eighth.

Inkster said earlier in the week that this “probably” would be it for her at the Women’s Open.

She seemed more certain Saturday.

“Because, you know what, I’ve played 35 of them,” she added. “Is one more going to really make a difference, one way or another? I don’t think so. It’s a grind. It’s a lot of work. The practice rounds and then the playing and 5 1-2 hour rounds.

“It’s just - I’m good with it.”

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WIN AND YANG: Amy Yang is still chasing her first Women’s Open victory but at least she can draw on her experience of being a contender.

The 24-year-old South Korean shared the 54-hole lead with Michelle Wie at 2-under.

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