Choi, Kang lead ma­jor en­ter­ing fi­nal round

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL -

When the wind picked up in the af­ter­noon and the sun beat down on Olympia Fields, Chella Choi de­liv­ered a smart, steady per­for­mance.

The kind that wins ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

Choi shot a 4-un­der-par 67 on Satur­day for a share of the lead with Danielle Kang head­ing into the fi­nal round of the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship in Illi­nois. Kang birdied the par-5 18th to join Choi at 10 un­der, set­ting up a fi­nal pair­ing of two play­ers look­ing for their first ma­jor ti­tle.

Kang had a 68, also birdieing the 18th.

Jiyai Shin rock­eted up the leader board with a 64, the best round of the day and good for third all by her­self at 8 un­der. De­fend­ing cham­pion Brooke Hen­der­son was an­other stroke back af­ter a 69.

Kang and Sei Young Kim were tied for the lead af­ter the sec­ond round. While Kim stum­bled to a 72, the 24-year-old Kang had five birdies and two bo­geys.

She saved par with a per­fect bunker shot on No. 12 and then birdied the par-4 14th to get to 10 un­der for the first time. She gave a shot back with just her sec­ond bo­gey of the tour­na­ment on 16 but re­cov­ered with an­other nice bunker shot to set up her clos­ing birdie.

Kang won the U.S. Women’s Am­a­teur in 2010 in 2011, but she has never won an LPGA Tour tour­na­ment.

“I’ve been work­ing on my game ev­ery day to get bet­ter,” Kang said. “Like I said pre­vi­ously, all I could do is work on my game and hope that ev­ery day, just chip away at your game, and it gets bet­ter ev­ery day, and that’s where it’s get­ting at. Ev­ery year, I’ve just been per­form­ing bet­ter. I have trust in my own game.”

The 26-year-old Choi had four birdies and no bo­geys. She cred­ited her solid play to her fa­ther, Ji Yeon Choi, who is cad­dy­ing for her again af­ter her play suf­fered when he re­tired fol­low­ing her only LPGA Tour vic­tory in the 2015 Marathon Clas­sic.

“I played bad, so my mom tell to my dad, go help Chella. Why are you stay­ing here?” Chella Choi said.

Shin, a for­mer world No. 1 and two-time ma­jor cham­pion, took off af­ter a birdie on No. 9. She played the back nine in 5-un­der 30 to grab the club­house lead while Kang and the lead­ers were out on the course.

It’s a rare U.S. tour­na­ment for Shin, the straight-hit­ting South Korean player who left the LPGA Tour a cou­ple years ago and moved to Ja­pan to be closer to her fam­ily.

“I think I’m pretty lucky be­cause I started a lit­tle bit early in the morn­ing,” she said. “I started early in the morn­ing. That’s why easy to make a few birdies.”

PGA TOUR CHAM­PI­ONS: Kirk Triplett shot a 4-un­der 66 to open a one-stroke lead af­ter three rounds of the U.S. Se­nior Open in Peabody, Mass.

Triplett im­proved to 15 un­der head­ing into the fi­nal round at the Don­ald Ross-de­signed Salem Coun­try Club. He watched as Kenny Perry three-putted the 18th hole to fall one stroke back.

Brandt Jobe matched the tour­na­ment record with a 62, shoot­ing 29 on the back nine to move into third. But he was six strokes be­hind the leader.

Fred Cou­ples and Tom Lehman were fourth at 7 un­der. They each shot a 70.

Bern­hard Langer, the win­ner of the first two se­nior ma­jors of the year, had a 72 to drop nine shots back.

The 55-year-old Triplett has five vic­to­ries on the 50-and-over tour af­ter win­ning three times on the PGA Tour.

EURO­PEAN TOUR: Swedish golfer Alexan­der Bjork shot a 1-un­der 70 to share the lead with Peter Uih­lein of the United States at 8 un­der af­ter a dif­fi­cult third round of the French Open in Paris on Satur­day.

Bjork moved into con­tention af­ter mak­ing three birdies on the way back to the club­house af­ter two bo­geys on the front nine.

Uih­lein was con­sis­tent but un­spec­tac­u­lar, open­ing with a bo­gey and can­cel­ing that out with a birdie on the 14th hole for a par 71 to keep his overnight score. Uih­lein has made only two bo­geys so far, the low­est he has carded through 54 holes on the Euro­pean Tour. He made three at the BMW In­ter­na­tional Open in 2013.

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