SINGAPORE (AP) South Korea’s Ha Na Jang shot a flawless 4-under 68 on Saturday to grab a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament.
Chasing her second LPGA title this year, the 23-year-old racked up four birdies and her second straight bogey-free round to lead the tournament on 12-under 204 then headed back to the practice range for some more golf.
”My nickname is Enjoy Ha Na, Energizer Ha Na,” Jang told reporters. ”It’s really good my nickname. I want to show every day, I enjoy playing golf.”
Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum knocked in six birdies in her 68 to end the third round in outright second at 11-under, one clear of the South Korean pair of Amy Yang and Mirim Lee.
Yang reeled off five birdies in her last eight holes for a 68 to charge up the leaderboard while the overnight co-leader Lee signed for a 70 after a mixed day where she made five birdies and three bogeys.
Yang has a knack for stringing birdies together. Last year, she birdied every hole on the back nine at a tournament in South Korea and thought it was only a matter of time before her putts started to drop at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore.
”It was kind of frustrating, the first nine, shooting 1-over par without any birdies,” Yang said.
”But I never gave up. Kept trying, trying, and the 11th hole birdie made good momentum. I’m happy how I finished strongly.”
Lee led the tournament by a stroke after the first nine holes but played the back nine in one over and missed a short birdie putt on the 18th hole to slip back into a tie for third.
”I hit a lot of bad shots today, but I’m still there,” Lee said.
A group of six players finished two shots behind them at 8-under, setting the stage for an exciting finish on Sunday with the top 10 separated by just four strokes.
Jang, who won her first LPGA title at the Coates Golf Championship in Florida last month, grabbed the outright lead when she birdied the 10th hole and Lee made bogey.
She was two in front heading to the last hole and almost chipped in for eagle but then missed her birdie putt as Pornanong drained hers to cut the margin to one.
Pornanong has won 11 titles as a professional but is still chasing her first LPGA win after two second place finishes.