2-time defending champ Nordqvist leads ShopRite LPGA Classic

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With a change at the top of the world rankings looming today, South Korea's Ryu So-yeon made little headway to make sure she is the one to supplant world No. 1 Lydia Ko at the end of the tournament. Sharmila Nicollet, of India, tees off on the fifth hole of the ShopRite LPGA Classic golf tournament Friday, June 2, 2017, in Galloway Township, N.J.

The last time Ryu did not complete a tournament was the 2014 Evian Masters, where she was disqualified after the first round. "It's all happening so fast and you kind of can't regroup and I didn't do a very good job of that".

Already the first golfer from the region to win a Major championship when she claimed the Women's British Open previous year, she has now made more history without hitting a ball. Creamer had a 74 to drop into a tie for seventh at 6 under. The winds picked up in the afternoon and the greens started to get bumpy with a lot more people walking around.

Both Kim and Creamer signed for four-under par 67s.

She's played just half a dozen tournaments in 2017, but said she had recovered well.

Kim fired a two-under 69 in the final round for a three-round total of 11-under 202 in her first victory of 2017, and cashed in US$225,000 in the winner's check.

"I just couldn't really make the puts yesterday and today when it mattered", Nordqvist said.

The 28-year old Kim was making just her sixth start since returning from injury.

Ariya Jutanugarn took the No. 1 spot in the world ranking without hitting a shot, and Paula Creamer and In-Kyung Kim topped the ShopRite LPGA Classic leaderboard Saturday.

She said she had been "pretty nervous" through much of the round due to the testing breeze and also because her threesome was being timed for slow play for several holes.

"I want to be myself on the golf course and just keep having fun".

Nordqvist stayed in touch all day in her bid for a "three-peat" but her own 69 left her two adrift on 204. "It was really tricky out there, but I gave my best". But for four holes, that's a long time.

Ko, who has held the top spot for 84 weeks, is not playing in the event and was certain to relinquish her crown to either Ariya, another absentee in New Jersey, or Ryu, who had to finish at least third to displace the New Zealander.

Two-time defending champion Anna Nordqvist of Sweden also closed with a 69 to finish alone in second place at 204.