Choi in charge in Malaysia

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Korean Na Yeon Choi will take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.

Na Yeon Choi will take a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia after shooting a solid 4-under 67 on Saturday.

The World No 4, still seeking here first LPGA Tour victory this year, has moved to the top of the leader board with a three-round, 12-under par total and is one shot clear of American Brittany Lang, a co-leader in the first two rounds.

Choi has chalked up nine top-10 finishes so far this year and again produced some wonderfully consistent golf on Saturday and despite a three-hour delay due to electrical storms, the 23-year-old South Korean managed to tally five birdies and just one bogey as she edged ahead.

Choi is coming off a runner-up finish last week at the HanaBank LPGA Championship where she fell just shy of capturing her third straight title in the event.

Seeking her maiden LPGA victory Azahara Munoz and Brittany Lang will both have the opportunity on Sunday to become Rolex First-Time Winners.

Lang, who co-led after the first and second rounds of the event, is currently in sole possession of second place after shooting 69 on Saturday.

Her best career finish to date was her second place in the RICOH Women’s British Open.

Munoz, who is in third place at 10-under-par, already has one prestigious honor on the LPGA Tour. She was the 2010 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year. But one thing Munoz would love to add to her already accomplished resume is a victory.

“It’s been a long time on the LPGA since I was high on the leaderboard,” Munoz said.

“I’ve been close in Europe, but not in the States. You know, I’m just really excited. I’m just going to go out there and try to enjoy it, one shot at a time, like Yani said, and whatever it is happens is gonna be.”

If either Munoz or Lang can win, they would become the LPGA Tour’s third first-time winner in 2011, joining Stacy Lewis and Sandra Gal, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Kia Classic respectively.

But this tournament is far from won and lost.

There are a host of other players hard on the heels of the leaders who could come through on the final day, not the least of them being women’s World No 1 Yani Tseng, No 2 Suzann Pettersen, No 9 Paula Creamer and No 10 Stacy Lewis who had shared the second round lead with Lang on Friday but slipped back to into a three-way tie for fourth with Tseng (69) and Korean veteran Se Ri Pak at 8-under with a disappointing 72.

The 22-year-old Tseng, who is bidding for her seventh LPGA Tour victory of the season and her 10th worldwide, said: “I’m four shots back, but tomorrow I still have one more day to go.

“This is a great golf course. It’s going to be a fun day out there tomorrow and I’ll still try to be aggressive;try to make more putts and see how the day goes.”

Pettersen sank a birdie putt on the 18th to move to 7-under-par for the tournament, five behind the leader, and Creamer bounced back from an early double bogey on the 2nd to shoot a 69 and currently sits tied for 8th at 6-under-par with Michelle Wie.

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist made the biggest move on moving Saturday, shooting a 6-under 65 that hoisted her from a tie for 51st place to a tie for 15th at 2-under-par.

World Golf Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak, the so-called ‘mother of Korean golf’, also shot a 65 to move to 8-under par and into that tie for fourth.

TOP 10 LEADERBOARD

201 Na Yeon Choi (Kor)66 68 67
202 Brittany Lang (USA) 66 67 69
203 Azahara Munoz (Esp)67 68 68
205 Stacy Lewis (USA) 68 65 72, Se Ri Pak (Kor) 72 68 65, Yani Tseng (Tpe) 69 67 69
206 Suzann Pettersen (Nor)68 69 69
207 Paula Creamer (USA) 71 67 69, Michelle Wie (USA) 68 68 71 207
208 KI Kim (Kor) 68 68 72

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