Jang Ha-Na eyes wire-to-wire LPGA win
South Korean rookie Jang Ha-Na fired a two-under par 69 on Saturday and will take a one-stroke lead over Baek Kyu-Jung into the final round of the LPGA Marathon Classic.
Jang, 23, had an 11-under total of 202, one stroke in front of Baek -- a familiar foe from junior days and the Korean LPGA tour.
"I`m leading right now? Amazing," Jang said after a round that included three birdies and just one bogey.
She`s chasing her first US LPGA Tour title, and thinks she knows what she`ll need to produce on Sunday to get it.
"Tomorrow, just one target: 15-under," Jang said. "Four more birdies."
Baek, also a US tour rookie, made a splash in her first LPGA start, outlasting Brittany LIncicome and Chun In-Gee last year in a playoff to win the LPGA KEB HanaBank championship.
"I learned a lot from the playoff I played against Lincicome and Gee Chun last year," said Baek, who birdied two of her last four holes to finish a 68 and close in on Jang.
"I believe I haven`t made it to the next level yet, so hopefully this week gives me good confidence going into tomorrow. Hopefully I step up to the next level."
But the two rookies have a host of big names chasing them, with current world number one Park In-Bee, former number one Lydia Ko, China`s Feng Shanshan, Korean Chella Choi and American Austin Ernst sharing third on 204.
Ko, the defending champion, fired a four-under-par 67, but was disappointed that she couldn`t find a birdie in either of the last two holes -- both par-fives.
Nevertheless, the 18-year-old New Zealander, who successfully defended her Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic title in April, was optimistic she could complete another successful defence on Sunday.
"I think I was a couple shots behind last year too so I don`t mind the position I`m in right now," Ko said.
Park, seeking her fourth title of the season, was pleased to produce a bogey-free 67 on what turned out to be a marathon day because of inclement weather.
"I played like three holes in the morning and then another delay, so it was a long day," Park said. "But I made no bogeys today, which is really good. I feel like I played pretty solid last couple days."
With more thunderstorms expected on Sunday afternoon, tee times for the final round have been moved up in hopes of completing the round before the weather hits.