Portland: There is nothing like a tight battle for the world number one ranking to help motivate Japanese star Ai Miyazato.
Miyazato, who is seeking her fifth win of 2010, fired a five-under 67 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the LPGA Safeway Classic.
Miyazato was at 11 under on Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course and is among five players in a tight battle for the No. 1 spot in the rankings. Cristie Kerr is currently No. 1, followed by Miyazato, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng.
The golf world was hit by another unusual penalty within a week Saturday when 50-year-old veteran Juli Inkster was disqualified because she used a weight training device on her club to stay loose while waiting to tee off on No. 10.
Inkster was tied for second at eigth under with Song-Hee Kim (64) and Na Yeon Choi (67) after an apparent 67.
Inkster’s disqualification comes six days after American Dustin Johnson was knocked out of the playoff round to decide the 92nd PGA Championship after he grounded his club in a quasi sand trap at the Whistling Straits course in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Miyazato had to scramble on the par-four 12th hole after her approach cleared the green and landed in a bunker. She flubbed her next shot but then holed out of the rough for a bogey.
“It went in, and it was really lucky, I think,” she said.
Shin and Kerr were both in contention at seven under. South Korea’s Ji Young Oh shot a second-round 64 to top a group of four players at six under.
“I had a good shot and a good putter,” she said. “So everything was good.”
Inkster left the course quickly after learning of her disqualification.
“I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” she said. “It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”
Inkster broke rule 14-3, which says that a player cannot make a stroke or practice swing using a club with a weighted doughnut or any other training device or swing aid.
Because no course officials saw the infraction, Inkster almost finished her round and was ready to make a run at the title on Sunday. But a fan watching on television called in to get her disqualified.
Inkster was already on the 17th hole when tournament officials realized there was a problem.