Six birdies hand Mi-Rim top spot

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Lee Mi-Rim shrugged off an open­ing bo­gey to card six birdies in a five-un­der 67 on Satur­day and seize a one-shot lead after three rounds of the LPGA Kia Clas­sic in Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia.

With a 13-un­der to­tal of 203, Mi-Rim was one in front of fel­low South Korean Hur Mi-Jung, whose seven birdies in a six-un­der 66 in­cluded three in a row to cap her round.

It was a fur­ther two strokes back to Korea’s Chun In-Gee, who signed for a 67, and Amer­i­can Cristie Kerr, the overnight leader who bo­geyed the last for a one-un­der 71 that left her tied for third on 206.

Mi-Rim, who cap­tured both of her LPGA tour ti­tles in her rookie sea­son in 2014, finds her­self in a fa­mil­iar po­si­tion.

Two years ago she also held the 54-hole lead, three strokes in front of Cristie – who went on to win the tour­na­ment.

After her bo­gey at the first, MiRim got go­ing with three birdies in a row from the third through fifth holes, and she added birdies at the ninth, 10th and 16th to take the lead as Cristie en­dured a roller-coaster of a day.

The US vet­eran had five birdies, but closed the round with the last of her four bo­geys.

World No 3 In-Gee, who shared the first-round lead be­fore spi­ral­ing to a 73 on Fri­day, clawed her way back up the leader­board with six birdies in her five-un­der ef­fort.

"Stay pa­tient," she said of her mind-set, and it paid off with a "re­ally good back nine" for the player whose only two LPGA vic­to­ries have come in ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

De­fend­ing cham­pion and world num­ber one Ly­dia Ko was ab­sent for the week­end ac­tion, hav­ing missed the cut for just the sec­ond time in her LPGA ca­reer on Fri­day. AFP

Lee Mi-Rim

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