MIRABEL, Quebec (AP) — Defending champion Michelle Wie shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday in the Canadian Women’s Open for a share of the third-round lead with Ai Miyazato and Tiffany Joh.
The winner last year at St. Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wie is trying to become the first player to win the national championship two years in a row since Pat Bradley in 1985-86.
Joh had a 65, and Miyazato shot a 71 to match Wie at 12-under 204 at Hillsdale Golf Club.
Angela Stanford (66) and Brittany Lincicome (69) were a stroke back, and Cristie Kerr (69), Jiyai Shin (69), Na Yeon Choi (69), Becky Morgan (70) and Song-Hee Kim (71) followed at 10 under.
There was some doubt that the final round can be completed before Hurricane Irene hits the area Sunday.
“It’s something everyone’s going to play under,” Wie said. “I’m kind of expecting the worst. But whether conditions are good or bad you still have to play well and there are still players to beat and things you have to do. I don’t think it really makes that much difference.”
In a bid to beat the storm, starting times were moved up 90 minutes to 7 a.m., the players were grouped in threesomes instead of twosomes and will go off both the first and 10th tees. If the fourth round can’t be completed, a three-way playoff will be held among the 54-hole leaders.
“It’s a pretty quick turnaround, but I kind of like it,” Wie said. “It gives me less time to think about things.”
Joh had the best round of the day.
“It’s really exciting for me because coming into this year I had conditional status and I didn’t even know how many events I was going to play,” Joh said. “Just having a chance to contend at one, that’s what dreams are made of. I just really excited. I’m going in with no expectations because I’ve never been in this position anywhere. Whoever I’m paired with, I’m sure I’m going to learn loads from them.”
Miyazato is ready for anything.
“Either way, we need to finish the tournament,” she said. “So I’ll just try to play my style of golf no matter what happens. I grew up in an area that was windy, so I actually like playing in windy conditions, but if it rains it will definitely be difficult. But because I’m used to those situations, I don’t think there will be any problem keeping my tempo.”
Maude-Aimee Leblanc was the low Canadian at 8 under after a 67.
“Coming into the tournament, I liked the way I was playing and hitting the ball, so I felt I had as good a chance as anyone,” said Leblanc, from Sherbrooke.
Jocelyne Bourassa (1973 La Canadienne) is the only Canadian to win an LPGA Tour event in Canada.