Wie on course for repeat victory

Michelle Wie will be looking to defend her Canadian Women’s Open title after grabbing a share of the lead on Saturday.

Michelle Wie will be looking to defend her Canadian Women’s Open title after grabbing a share of the lead on Saturday.

Wie shot a four-under-par 68 at Hillsdale Golf & Country Club in Quebec to lead alongside fellow Korean-American Tiffany Joh, a LPGA Tour rookie who shot a 65, and Japan’s Ai Miyazato, who led after two rounds and kept herself in the running with a one-under 71.

The trio lie on 12 under par for the tournament through 54 holes, only one shot clear of Americans Brittany Lincicome (69) and joint-overnight leader Angela Stanford (72).

Five players are two shots off the pace on ten under – Koreans Jiyai Shin, Na Yeon Choi and Song-hee Kim, American Cristie Kerr and Wales’ Becky Morgan.

Concern over Hurricane Irene has prompted tournament organisers to advance the start of the final round to Sunday morning and play in threesomes, meaning the leading trio will play together and the next three groups of three will all be within three shots of the lead.

“The forecast doesn’t look good,” said Wie. “It’s a pretty quick turnaround but I think it’s a pretty good thing they are starting early.”

There are a lot of people hovering around,” she added. “There are going to be a lot of challenges with a lot of people and the conditions. I’m going to go out there and be patient and try to get it done.”

Rain has been forecast for Sunday and is expected to arrive round about the time the leaders tee off.

“It depends on the weather,” said Miyazato. “It’s going to be the same thing – just be patient and try to make some birdies.”

Wie opened her account with a birdie at a second and gave it back at the fourth with a bogey, but from then on it was smooth sailing, as she added birdies at the seventh, ninth, 10th and 15th holes to move to the top of the leaderboard.

“I just stayed patient and got a lot of things rolling,” Wie said.

Miyazato looked on course for another low round after a birdie at the par-five first, but that would be as low as her round went, as her two other birdies were each followed by a bogey shortly after.

“I played all right. I hung in there,” Miyazato said. “I couldn’t make any putts on the back nine. I tried to take it nice and easy out there.”

The Japanese No 1 struggled with her approach on Saturday, mindful of needing birdies but conscious of avoiding costly errors.

“When you play in the last group, it’s difficult to control yourself,” she said. “You need to make some birdies out there, but you also need to be patient out there. It’s tough to make the balance.”