Spain`s Ciganda seizes LPGA lead

Updated: Apr 28, 2013, 08:41 AM IST

Texas: Spain`s Carlotta Ciganda fired six birdies in a five-under-par 66 to seize a two-shot lead after three rounds of the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.

Ciganda, 2012`s Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour, had a 54-hole total of 11-under par 202.

World No. 1 Park In-Bee of South Korea carded a 67 to claim a share of second place on 204. She was tied with German LPGA rookie Caroline Masson, who led after both of the first two rounds.

Masson shook off a double-bogey at the first to post a 69.

South Korea`s Choi Na-Yeon carded a 66 to stand alone in fourth on 205.

Ciganda, a two-time winner on the LET last season, will try to become the fourth Spanish player to win an LPGA tour title.

"It would be a dream," Ciganda said. "I mean, winning is always great, but I just want to try to focus on each shot.

"Just like today, have a great round and then at the end if someone plays better, just congratulate."

Ciganda`s six birdies included an unlikely one at the par-four 12th, where she hit her drive right into a lateral hazard to leave her ball part underwater in a concrete drainage ditch.

She blasted an eight-iron off the concrete and with a fortuitous bounce her ball rolled 10 feet from the pin and she made the putt for birdie.

"I just tried to hit it as well as I could, and I think I was pretty lucky," Ciganda said. "It bounced really well to the right, and then I was lucky again to make that putt."

The 22-year-old has plenty of proven talent chasing her, including Park, who claimed the world number one ranking less than two weeks ago.

Park opened with a bogey, but nabbed five birdies -- including two to end her round -- to keep herself in contention.

Choi, ranked third in the world, carded a five-under 66 to move up from a tie for 11th.

Choi has three top-10 LPGA finishes this season, including a runner-up showing at the HSBC Women`s Champions in Singapore.

She was tabbed by compatriot Park as the player to watch on Sunday.

"When it comes to the final round, I think a more experienced player definitely has an advantage going into the pressure conditions," Park said. "I think Na-Yeon will be one of the ones to beat tomorrow. She had a very good day today. She was struggling a little bit with the putter last week, and you know, she changed her putting grip, and I think it`s working really good."

A second cut was made on Saturday, trimming the field to 51 players. Those who didn`t make it included US star Michelle Wie and 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Yoo Sun-Young.