Ko, Lewis fight for bonus as Granada grabs lead
New Zealand teen Lydia Ko and American Stacy Lewis battled for a $1 million season bonus Saturday but Paraguay`s Julieta Granada was the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship leader after 54 holes.
Granada fired a two-under par 70 in the third round at Tiburon Golf Club to stand on nine-under 207, one stroke ahead of Spain`s Carlotta Ciganda and American Morgan Pressel with German Sandra Gal on 209 entering the final round of the 2014 campaign.
But the season points title and the $1 million bonus prize -- twice the event`s top prize -- appeared set to come down to 17-year-old Seoul-born Kiwi Ko and second-ranked Lewis, points leaders who could clinch the crown by winning the tournament.
"I`m going to try and not think about everything," Ko said. "Tomorrow is a whole new day. Hopefully I can have a good round like I did today."
Ko fired a 68 Saturday to share fifth with South Korean Ryu So-Yeon, one stroke ahead of Americans Angela Stanford and Michelle Wie, the reigning US Women`s Open champion who is among those needing a victory and stumbles by Ko and Lewis to take the bonus prize.
"It could have gotten away from me but I`m proud I was able to stay in it," Wie said after a 72 Saturday. "I just missed a couple of greens and my short game was absolutely horrendous. Definitely wasn`t very consistent. I need to work on my speed and hopefully improve a lot tomorrow."
Lewis fired a 70 to stand on 213 but shared 10th to cling to a slight edge on Ko in the points race.
"I`ve been sleeping fine because I`ve been so tired after my round," Lewis said. "It`s so hard out there with everything on the line."
Such riches were not Ko`s top goal when she was granted special permission to join the LPGA this year, ahead of the 18-year age minimum.
"The more zeroes the better I guess. I didn`t really think about it," said Ko, twice a winner on tour this year. "To spend so much time on the tour with the girls, that was the goal this year. I never thought about this.
"I`m going to try and enjoy the opportunity and focus on my round tomorrow. Hopefully the putting will go well."Granada, whose only LPGA title came at the 2006 Tour Championship, opened with a birdie and added another at the par-3 eighth then played the back nine at par to lead an LPGA event entering the final round for only the second time in her career. She lost the other time at Mexico in 2007.
"I played pretty consistent," Granada said. "I didn`t get up and down on a couple greens but overall I`m pretty happy."
World number one Park In-Bee of South Korea fired a 73 to stand on 218. She could win the points crown with a victory but was struggling with her putter and unlikely to make a last-day charge.
Lewis stumbled with a bogey at the par-5 17th but her third-round 70 was four shots better than Friday.
- "I hit 10 more greens today. I did a lot better," Lewis said. "My body was taking a loose swing. I had to get into it a litle bit more."