POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 20, 2011
PATTAYA, Thailand » The top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 2-under 70 for a one-shot lead after the third round in the LPGA Thailand yesterday.
She is trying for her third tournament victory in three weeks. A 4-foot eagle putt on her finishing hole on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club lifted the Taiwanese star to a 9-under 207 total, one better than Honolulu's Michelle Wie (71) and second-round leader IK Kim (72).
"It was very exciting finishing eagle, that's for sure," Tseng said. "Nice to have a one-shot lead over IK and Michelle."
Tseng double-bogeyed the second hole, but made up a shot by the turn. Three birdies spanning holes 10-15 put her in front by two, but they were offset by consecutive bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17, and the closing eagle saved her round.
"It was better for me today," she said. "A tough start, but I had a good comeback and I stayed really patient. I don't put too much tension on myself. I wanted to stay relaxed. Don't be afraid if I miss a shot. If I bogey a hole, I'll birdie the next hole. Keep smiling and relax."
Tseng became the world No. 1 when she won the Australian Open by seven strokes, then the Australian Ladies Masters by four last weekend.
"It would be great (to win three in a row). Right now, I'm prepared and not afraid when I'm on top. I know how to win a tournament. I'm going to go enjoy the tournament like today."
Wie had four bogeys and five birdies, finishing better than she started.
"On the front nine I putted horribly, couldn't make a single thing, but on the back nine I put myself together," Wie said. "Tomorrow, hopefully I'll learn from my mistakes."
Kim's round was similar to Wie's. Her one-shot lead to begin the day was gone by the fifth hole with her third straight bogey, but she closed with birdies on three of her last four holes to remain in contention.
"I just had a really rough start, like yesterday," Kim said. "I had the same mind-set through all 18, very relaxed. I didn't really do that very well on the front nine. I tried to play smart on the back, dropped some putts with a lot of break. I feel much better on the back nine."
Paula Creamer (70) was alone in fourth at 7 under and Karrie Webb was fifth at 6 under.
MJ Hur (68) of South Korea followed at 5 under, then a group of four at 4 under that included former world No. 1 Juli Inkster (73).