Miyazato leads top-ranked Tseng by one shot at Honda LPGA Thailand

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2012 Honda LPGA Thailand champion Ai Miyazato birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine Saturday.
By
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012 | 11:53 a.m.

CHONBURI, Thailand -- Ai Miyazato shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over top-ranked Yani Tseng after the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Miyazato, the Japanese player who won the 2010 tournament, birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine. She had a 14-under 202 total on Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course.

HONDA LPGA THAILAND

Yani Tseng won the 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand en route to a record-setting season that saw her rise to No. 1 in the world ranking.

“I think I have a good feeling with this golf course,” Miyazato said. “It’s just the beginning of the season and a beautiful golf course and a nice temperature today. The people are really nice over here and I’m just having a really good time.”

Tseng, the winner last year, shot her second straight 65 after opening with a 73. The Taiwanese star had 12 worldwide victories last year, seven on the LPGA Tour.

“I hit so many great shots today and I just feel like my game is there,” Tseng said. “I’m pretty confident and just will try to do it again tomorrow.”
 
Australia’s Karrie Webb and South Korea’s Jiyai Shin were 12 under. Webb shot a 71, and Shin had a 68.
 
“I’ll take 1 under,” Webb said. “I really didn’t swing it well and it progressively got worse as it went on, so I made some really good pars out there today when I really was struggling with my swing. I’m glad that I haven’t played my way out of it. I’m only two shots back, so I’ll have a nice Thai massage tonight and my body will be back to normal by tomorrow, hopefully.”
 
Webb had a three-stroke lead Saturday morning after the completion of the lightning-delayed second round, playing the final four holes in 1 under after a 65. After the long day, Webb joked about the walk up the hill on the par-5 18th.
 
“It was definitely a lot steeper this evening after a 4:45 a.m. wakeup call this morning,” the Hall of Famer said. “I’m glad to be done. There are still 18 holes to go, so hopefully I’ll be in good shape for tomorrow.”
 
Miyazato also returned early to finish the last five holes of her second-round 70. “It was a really, really long day for me,” Miyazato said.” I’ve been up since 4 o’clock this morning. But the temperature dropped down today, so that helped a lot, too. So that’s why I think I could control myself out there.”
 
She’s trying to win her eighth LPGA Tour title in the last four seasons.
 
“I just need to focus my game,” Miyazato said.
 
Miyazato played alongside Tseng.
 
“It was really fun,” Miyazato said. “It’s always fun to play with Yani. We talked a lot and I think we’re very close. Just the attitude that she brings, I really like it. I think we have good vibes with each other.
 
South Korea’s Amy Yang was 11 under after a 68. Second-ranked Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen, the 2007 winner, was another stroke back after a 69. Michelle Wie was even par after a 73.
 
Sixteen-year-old Thai amateur Ariya Jutanugarn had two eagles in a 65 that left her at 9 under. Last year, she won the U.S. Junior Girls’ Championship and was the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.
 
Also Saturday in Christchurch, New Zealand, fourteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko shot her second straight 3-under 69 on Saturday for a share of second-round lead in the New Zealand Women’s Open.
 
Ko, the world’s top-ranked amateur, became the youngest winner of a professional tour event last month in the Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia. She briefly held the outright lead before a bogey on the par-17th dropped her into a six-way tie at 6 under at Pegasus Golf Club.

“I was like 12th or something overnight, so it’s good to be up with the leaders,” the South Korean-born New Zealander said. “I’ll try hard tomorrow and, hopefully, play good like I did at New South Wales.”
 
Ko was tied with Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe (68), Australia’s Lindsey Wright (68), South Korea’s Haeji Kang (69), American Alison Walshe (70) and Spain’s Carlotta Ciganda (69).
 
Canadian star Lorie Kane (67) was a stroke back along with Americans Cindy Lacrosse (67) and Gerina Piller (71) and Australians Julia Boland (68) and Stephanie Na (69).
 
Ko, two strokes out of the lead entering the round, birdied her opening hole. She bogeyed the par-4 third, then birdied the fourth and fifth holes. She overcame gusty conditions to birdie the par-3 11th and moved into the outright lead with a birdie at the 13th.