SINGAPORE (AP) Michelle Wie shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to lead the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament by two strokes after the third round.
The American followed up her previous rounds of 66 and 69 to reach 14-under 202 and lead an LPGA event after 54 holes for the first time since she won the 2014 U.S. Open.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko birdied the last hole for a 67 to end the day in a three-way tie for second. She was joined by last year’s British Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and the big-hitting Park Sung-Hyun (68).
Rio Olympic gold medalist Inbee Park shot a 71 to finish three shots behind Wie and tied with the defending champion Ha Na Jang (68).
Plagued by injuries and a loss of form, Wie needed a sponsor’s invitation just to get a start in the $1.5 million tournament. But she’s been in vintage touch since arriving in Singapore.
Wie took just 32 shots to reach the turn. Despite making her first bogey in 35 holes on the tricky par-3 15th, she made her sixth birdie of the day on the next hole and put herself in great position to end a three-year title drought.
”There definitely is some butterflies out there, but it’s exciting getting that feeling again and being in this position,” Wie said.
Ko is in a slight drought, by her lofty standards. The 19-year-old, who has not won an LPGA title since July, birdied the last hole with a long putt from the fringe.
”It’s always nice to come off with a birdie,” Ko said. ”I started off really hot today. I didn’t really continue the momentum after the 10th hole, but I tried to hang in there. I made a clumsy bogey on 17, but it was nice to bounce back with the birdie on the last.”
Inbee Park, playing only her second tournament in six months because of a thumb injury, led by a shot overnight. She had early bogey to lose her place at the top of the leaderboard and never got going.
”My ball striking was consistent, but I just could not hole like one putt out there,” she said.
”But I’m not far back, and obviously at this golf course, if you can drop some putts, there are a few birdies out there. I’m just going to go out there tomorrow and just play aggressively and hopefully the putts can drop.”