Defending champion Michelle Wie shot a four-under-par 68 in the Canadian Women’s Open for a share of the third-round lead with Ai Miyazato and Tiffany Joh on Saturday.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, the world No. 1, fired her best round so far to move to within seven shots of the lead with a three-under 69 that was an improvement over the two 71s she shot to open the tournament at Hillsdale Golf Club.
Tseng, who had been tied for 41st and 46th after the first two rounds and came within two shots of missing the cut, had five birdies, including a possible momentum builder on 18, to go with two bogeys in the third round.
Tseng’s compatriot, Amy Hung, fired her second-straight even-par 72 and was tied for 54th with a two-under 214.
Wie, the winner last year at St Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is trying to become the first player to win the national championship two years in a row since Pat Bradley in 1985-1986.
Joh had a 65, and Miyazato shot a 71 to match Wie at 12-under 204.
Angela Stanford (66) and Brittany Lincicome (69) were a stroke back, and Cristie Kerr (69), Shin Ji-yai (69), Choi Na-yeon (69), Becky Morgan (70) and Kim Song-hee (71) followed at 10-under.
There was some doubt whether the final round could be completed before Hurricane Irene hits the area.
“It’s something everyone’s going to play under,” Wie said. “I’m kind of expecting the worst, but whether conditions are good or bad you still have to play well and there are still players to beat and things you have to do. I don’t think it really makes that much difference.”
In a bid to beat the storm, starting times were moved up 90 minutes to 7am, the players were grouped in threesomes instead of twosomes and will go off both the first and 10th tees. If the fourth round cannot be completed, a three-way playoff will be held between the 54-hole leaders.
“It’s a pretty quick turnaround, but I kind of like it,” Wie said. “It gives me less time to think about things.”
Joh had the best round of the day.
“It’s really exciting for me because coming into this year I had conditional status and I didn’t even know how many events I was going to play,” Joh said. “Just having a chance to contend at one, that’s what dreams are made of. I just really excited. I’m going in with no expectations because I’ve never been in this position anywhere.”