LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park of South Korea on Saturday fired a three-under par 69 and stretched her lead to five strokes after the third round of the LPGA Kia Classic, as Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling slipped to 11th place.
Park, a seven-time major champion seeking her 21st career LPGA title, stood on 12-under 204 after 36 holes at Aviara, north of San Diego, California.
After leading by only a single stroke when the day began, Park seized command as rivals stumbled, leaving England’s Mel Reid, Australian Minjee Lee and South Korean Hur Mi-jung sharing second on 209.
“I’m going to have to do something special to get it done,” Reid said.
“The game plan is to play aggressive and there’s nothing to lose. I’m going to try and get as close as I can to Inbee, but she’s an unbelievable golfer and she’s going to be hard to beat. She doesn’t make any mistakes,” Reid said.
“She’s one of the best players to ever play our game. You’re going to have to probably shoot six or seven-under to even have a chance of winning,” she added.
Hsu, who had held with the pack in fifth after the second round, stood on four-under 212 at the end of her third round. The 26-year-old had three birdies tempered by three bogeys, leaving the world No. 134 player with a par 72 for the round, and tied at 11th with American Annie Park and Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Cheng Ssu-chia, 23, stood on one-under 215, placing her tied for 28th. The 23-year-old world No. 290 had six birdies and an eagle in the third round, along with four bogeys to end the round with three-under par.
Former world No. 1 Yani Tseng was cut after the second round on Friday, after golfing an 82 and 84 on the par 72 course.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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