Kuala Lumpur, October 13 – Na Yeon Choi kept her nose in front in her quest to defend her Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia title after an exciting third round at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s East Course.
A four-hour plus weather delay failed to dampen the action as the smooth-swinging Korean shot a 68 to stay at the top of the pack on 13-under-par, two shots ahead of compatriot Inbee Park who rode a hot putter to nail six birdies on her last seven holes en route to a scorching 65.
Australian legend Karrie Webb nailed a 40-foot bomb at the last green to sign in a 68 and occupy third spot on her own on nine-under-par.
“Tomorrow, I’m going to have to watch the leaderboard because I have to know what the situation is, but I cannot control the other players’ scores. So I have to focus on my game and just play one shot at a time,” said World No. 4 Choi, who has six LPGA wins to her name including one Major in this year’s US Women’s Open.
“Actually, honestly, I don’t like leading a tournament, that feeling. I like chasing better. Today, I think I played much too safely. So tomorrow, I’m not going to think about my score, even with a two‑shot lead. I’m just going out there and be aggressive,” she added.
Park, who won the Evian Masters in July and is also a US Open winner taking the title in 2008, noted that she will have to play aggressively to catch Choi. “I still need a lot of birdies to win so I’ll just go out there and play aggressive and try to give myself a lot of birdie chances,” she said.
Norwegian stalwart Suzann Pettersen made the early running as the field tried to chase down Choi, but shots into the water at the par three 15th and the par five 16th saw her drop three shots in two holes and left her five strokes off the pace after a round of 70. She is tied for fourth with Japanese star Ai Miyazato, who carded a 68.
Lightning in the vicinity as a storm hit Kuala Lumpur forced play to be suspended from 10.16am to 2.30pm, with the last few flights finishing under floodlights as dusk approached.
Just like at the previous two editions, Saturday was also ‘Pink Saturday’ at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia to help support the tournament’s official charity, Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF). Officials, players, caddies and spectators alike were spotted with a touch of pink.
Leading Round 3 Scores:
–13 Na Yeon CHOI 65-67-68
-11 Inbee PARK 69-68-65
-9 Karrie WEBB 65-71-68
-8 Ai MIYAZATO 68-69-68, Suzann PETTERSEN 71-64-70
-7 Paula CREAMER 69-67-70, Catriona MATTHEW 68-68-70, Mika MIYAZATO 66-69-71
-6 Brittany LANG 69-68-70 -5 So Yeon RYU 68-73-67, Ariya JUTANUGARN (A) 69-72-67, Sun Young YOO 66-70-72, Lindsey WRIGHT 70-66-72