Choi keeps the Koreans in front
A sizzling, Saturday 63 has enabled Na Yeon Choi to maintain Korean domination of the Samsung World Championship.
South Korea’s domination of the Samsung World Championship continued in Saturday’s third round at Torrey Pines – but it is Na Yeon Choi who is in the lead now, having raced past compatriot Jiyai Shin with a career-best nine-under 63.
Choi’s score is also the lowest ever shot by a women in a professional event at the Torrey Pines’ South Course and was two better than her previous career best of 65 posted in the second rounds of both the 2008 and 2009 P&G beauty NW Arkansas Championships.
Shin, already the World No 4 in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, led after 18 and 36 holes but after Choi’s Saturday heroics and her own 68 response, she found herself demoted to second place by two strokes.
Japan’s favourite golfing daughter, Ai Miyazato, shot a third successive 68 to be a shot further back heading in to Sunday’s final round with World’s number one and two, Lorena Ochoa (72) of Mexico and American Paula Creamer (70) in joint 4th place, seven shots off the pace.,
Shin, a Tour winner a week ago, shot a third round 68 in response to Choi, who began the day three shots off the lead, had four birdies on the outward nine and – despite her only bogey on the 15th – never looked back as she piled up six more birdies coming home.
Choi is no unheralded upstart.
She was the runner-up to Taiwan’s Yani Tseng in the race for the 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award when she recorded career-best runner-up finishes at the Sybase Classic and at the Evian Masters – she lost this one to Helen Alfredsson in a sudden-death playoff.
A beaming Choi was delighted with her 63 on Saturday.
“I had a great round,” she said.
“I felt almost perfect in everything (I did today). My driver was good, iron shots good and so was my wedge and putter. Everything was good. I think it was a perfect day today.
“Did I ever think of shooting a 59? No I didn’t. I just tried to shoot the best score I could,” Choi said.
When asked about her background, Choi disclosed that her father had dreamed of being a professional golfer, but when he failed to make his dream come trrue, he turned his attention to making her a successful professional.
He seems to have done a pretty good job.
ALL THE THIRD ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 72):
201 Na Yeon Choi (Kor) 71 67 63
203 Jiyai Shin (Kor) 66 69 68
204 Ai Miyazato (Jpn) 68 68 68
208 Paula Creamer 69 69 70, Lorena Ochoa (Mex) 67 69 72
211 Yani Tseng (Tai) 75 66 70, Cristie Kerr 72 66 73
212 Sophie Gustafson (Swe) 67 70 75
213 Brittany Lincicome 70 70 73, Suzann Pettersen (Nor) 71 72 70
215 Catriona Matthew (Sco) 74 68 73, Karrie Webb (Aus) 73 72 70, Kristy McPherson 73 72 70
216 Juli Inkster 68 74 74, Song-Hee Kim (Kor) 66 72 78
217 Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 71 74 72, Angela Stanford 72 74 71
218 In-Kyung Kim (Kor) 72 73 73
219 Lindsey Wright (Aus) 73 72 74
223 Eun Hee Ji (Kor) 78 73 72
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