Choi, Kang lead major entering final round
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.