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Gaby Lopez one off CME lead after crazy final stretch of holes

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NAPLES, Fla. – Gaby Lopez loves to journal. She’s estimated that she’s gone through 12 notebooks during her golf career, including three this season alone.

“I journal pretty much every day,” Lopez said. “You know, I like to see myself back where I was struggling, what did I do to get out of the struggle. I like to see what I was doing when I was playing good or I was mentally good. I just I like to question myself all the time.”

She’ll have plenty to write about Saturday evening.

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Lopez shot 3-under 69 to enter Sunday’s final round of the CME Group Tour Championship at 13 under, a shot out of a four-way tie for the lead that included Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko. But it was how she finished her day at Tiburon Golf Club that will demand most of the attention: double bogey, eagle, bogey.

First came the “terrible” tee shot on the par-3 16th hole that found the penalty area. Lopez then hit a “beautiful” drive and 5-iron to set up a long eagle make at the par-5 17th hole, punctuating the moment with a huge fist pump and yell. Finally, Lopez again found the water, this time with her approach at the par-4 18th hole, but she got up and down to save bogey, a score that felt like a birdie to Lopez, who remained upbeat after her round.

“You know, I tried to stay calm all day long,” Lopez said. “I tried to stay calm throughout the tournament. Sometimes when I bring this emotion, I just can't stop it. I feel that I dragged [my celebration on 17] into 18. It was hard to keep it together. But at the same time, it's something that I love from my game, something I embrace so much. I'm sure that I'm going to learn from it. I know I'm going to have the discipline next time to calm down. But it's exciting. I love this position. I love to see myself grow.

“I think that I've grown so much through the years, and having this opportunity tomorrow to be one shot back and be able to hit exactly the shots that I’ve been wanting, been picturing, visualizing, it's just really exciting.”

Wanting, picturing, visualizing and writing.