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Star studded group share 11 under lead in Ohio
August 11, 2012

I.K. Kim -11, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Jiyai Shin -11, Rolex Rankings No. 11
So Yeon Ryu -11, Rolex Rankings No. 22
Hee Kyung Seo -11, Rolex Rankings No. 32

Tomorrow will prove to be a fight to the finish as four players are tied atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I. A star-studded group of Jiyai Shin, I.K. Kim, So Yeon Ryu, and Hee Kyung Seo all share the lead at 11-under-par.

Rolex Rankings No. 10 I.K. Kim has good memories of Highland Meadows Golf Club as she lost in a playoff at the 2010 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic to Na Yeon Choi. With the golf course experiencing significant rain overnight, Kim had to adjust to the soft conditions on Saturday.

“I had a good day,” said Kim. “I think overnight it rained a lot so the course was definitely playing more soft. The greens were rolling a little slower than yesterday because of the rain. Sometimes it's really hard to adapt to that right away, but I think I did that pretty well today. That was the key with the putting. Yeah, just feel good. I think my game is getting better.”

Rolex Rankings No. 11 Shin only missed three greens and carded a bogey free round on Saturday which she credited her iron game for the impressive round.

“Well, today was another wet day, so I just tried to keep focused, do not make the bogey,” said Shin. “I made five birdies today. My shot was getting better than yesterday. So I play much easier today.”

Rolex Rankings No. 22 Ryu has had the flat stick rolling this week as she needed no more than 30 putts per round during the past three rounds. Despite starting out with a bogey today, Ryu rebounded with five birdies to shoot a 4-under-par 67.

“I think today is really good patience out there,” said Ryu. “The front nine my putt wasn't great, but after finish the front nine, actually the back nine part was really great, so I really happy with that.”

Rolex Rankings No. 32 Seo started her round with a bogey but recovered with two consecutive birides on eight and nine. She then faltered with back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 but quickly recovered with an eagle at the par-4 13th. Seo then went on to birdie 15 and 17 to finish the day with a 3-under-par 68.

“The shot was better than yesterday, so I can see through it to the target,” said Seo. “I made lots of good putts. Obviously I started with bogey, but I tried to be patient. At the back nine I had two bogeys. I could not concentrate at that hole. I don't know why. I was just trying to keep positive thinkings, bring energy up. I got great bounce‑back on next hole with eagle.”

I.K. Kim has become well known in the recent months for her classy demeanor and contagious smile but it is what she has recently had to endure that has proved she is a fighter. After missing a seemingly tap-in putt to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Kim suffered an injury which left her sidelined from several tournaments.

“I had a little injury after Kraft,” said Kim. “I think that's coming from overworking, all the different things. I feel much better now. I think I pushed myself a little too hard in the summer, all the scheduling and things that I made a little bit of mistake, I would have to say. I'll do that better next time when I'm in that position.”

During the break from the LPGA Tour, the 24-year-old revaluated if playing golf was really the right career path for her.

“I think it's a learning process,” said Kim. “Whatever I'm doing, it's working. I just need to keep doing. But I'm 24. There's things I want to do. Life is so much full of fun stuff. Sometimes I look back, Is this really what I wanted to do?”

The time off made Kim quickly realize the LPGA Tour is exactly where she belongs. Kim not only relishes the opportunity to not only compete on the LPGA but she also feels fortunate to have people surround her who have her best interest at heart.

“I'm really fortunate and I feel lucky to have this opportunity at my age, to be able to travel and meet people, yeah, so that's where I'm at,” said Kim. “I just need to keep working hard with golf 'cause nothing comes easy. That's what I'm learning. Yeah, having good people around me, I think that's number one most important thing in everyone's life.”

The past couple years, Jiyai Shin’s time on the LPGA Tour has been plagued by injuries. This year alone, Shin has only played in 10 of the 16 tournaments but this week is proving to be a bit different for the South Korean.

“Well, it's not hundred percent, but I think it's good enough,” said Shin of her recent health issues. “I really happy to come back to play this tournament because we missed it last year. Also last couple months I didn't play so much. I'm missing play on the Tour, and competition with other players. It's just like I'm on the way. I have a little bit of pressure on myself. But I miss it so much, it feels good.”

Shin finds herself tied for the lead heading into tomorrow’s final round. While Shin already has five LPGA Tour victories under her belt, she still admits to feeling some pressure to earn her sixth win.

“If we have a chance, we have a lot of pressure from the people, from myself,” said Shin. “But the good players, they're enjoying with the pressure on the tour.”

Last year’s U.S. Women’s Open champion, So Yeon Ryu is in search of her first official LPGA Tour win as a member as this week’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I. Ryu has added a secret weapon to her bag this week and that is the putter she used to win last year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

“It feels like if I see my putter, just feels like I can make the putt,” said Ryu. “I think the confidence really important at the putting, so that's why this week my putting's really great. And I think the green is really soft now, so it's really easy to make the birdie chance. Everybody same condition. I think everybody really know about this golf course. So I think putt is really important key, yeah.”

The new putter seems to be working as Ryu had 29 putts on Thursday and 27 putts the past two rounds.

“Last few tournaments I pretty struggling with my putting, but now it's really great,” said Ryu. “I hope tomorrow my putt working really great again.”

It has always been a lifelong dream of Hee Kyung Seo to win on the LPGA Tour as an official member, and tomorrow might just be the day. Seo already has one LPGA Tour victory under her belt but that came at the 2010 Kia Classic prior to becoming an official member.

“That's the first goal for me, to win an LPGA by a member,” said Seo. “So I'll just chase my dreams.”

Currently tied atop the leaderboard with three of her fellow South Koreans, Seo’s game plan for tomorrow’s final round is to concentrate on every moment.

“I'll just keep doing my thing,” said Seo. “I will try to just take my time every shot, try to not make such a mistake like today, two holes. I will try to just concentrate every moment.”

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