South Korea`s Lee Mi-Rim takes slim LPGA lead
South Korea`s Lee Mi-Rim carded a six-under par 66 on Saturday and will take a one-shot lead over American Alison Lee into the final round of the LPGA Kia Classic.
Lee Mi-Rim, who shared the overnight lead with Morgan Pressel, bounced back from a bogey at the fourth hole with seven birdies the rest of the way to build a 16-under total of 200 after 54 holes.
The 24-year-old, who has held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, will be seeking her third LPGA title on Sunday.
"I think my putting was best," she said. "It was better than yesterday, so my score was good.
"Better putting this week, was able to convert the birdies and save the pars, which I wasn`t able to do last week."
Alison Lee, a 20-year-old making her fourth LPGA start, had eight birdies in her second straight 66 at Aviara Golf club for a 15-under total of 201.
"I started off the day really well. I got a birdie on the first hole, then I had a couple of hiccup holes... but I told myself to stay in the game and stay confident," said the American, who was an amateur star at the University of California at Los Angeles.
"Eventually, I turned my round around, and I just kept hitting every green and getting it close and giving myself chances all day long."
Japan`s Sakura Yokomine and American Cristie Kerr shared third on 203, Yokomine after a 67 and Kerr with a 68.
World number one Lydia Ko had played her way to the top of the leaderboard before two late bogeys saw her settle for a 67 that left her tied on 204 with South Korean veteran Pak Se-Ri -- who matched the course record of 64.
They were joined there by Americans Paula Creamer and Jennifer Song, who both shot 66.New Zealand`s Ko comfortably stretched her run of LPGA Tour rounds under par to 27 -- two away from matching Swedish great Annika Sorenstam`s LPGA record of 29.
But the 17-year-old sensation, the youngest player to reach number one in the world in golf, put a dent in her bid for a third title worldwide this year with her late lapses.
An eagle at the par-four seventh along with five birdies had seen her surge up the leaderboard.
But she hit into the water en route to a bogey at the par-four 16th and finished with a bogey at the last.
"Overall the last couple days, I felt like my irons were really solid," Ko said. "I was kind of on and off with the long clubs, but I felt like I hit the ball well, and that means I could be a little bit more positive about it.
"The only really loose shot was that tee shot on 16 and my second shot on 18. But it`s good that I`m confident enough that I can go for these tough pin positions."