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Miyazato entering final round with 3 shot lead
April 20, 2012

Seven-time LPGA winner Ai Miyazato holds a three-shot lead over Cristie Kerr and Azahara Munoz entering the final round of play at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. Miyazato shot 2-under-par 70 on Friday during the third round at Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu. The Japanese star recorded four birdies – including a four-foot putt at No. 18 – and two bogies to move to 10-under-par 206. “It was really tough out there. Still windy, and basically same direction, but it's still tough to play out there,” she said. “I really handled (it) well, so I'm very happy with my round today.”

A tie for 56th place at the Kraft Nabisco Championship led Ai Miyazato to try several putting changes that are paying off this week. Her dad, who serves as her swing coach and part-time putting coach, suggested a change in her stance and a weaker grip, both of which she worked on in the time off before Hawaii. “He gave me a couple tips, so I worked really hard with the two tips last couple weeks, and now it's, you know, perfect rolling.”

Although Ai Miyazato has a four-shot cushion entering the final round, some of the Tour’s biggest names are lurking. Cristie Kerr, a 14-time winner, is three shots back, while Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, former No. 1 Jiyai Shin, four-time winner Angela Stanford and 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points leader So Yeon Ryu are four behind at 6-under-par. “Four or five shot is not really nothing on this golf course,” Tseng said. “Because, I mean, it was really windy. Get a couple more birdies back and then try to make birdie on par-5s and be patient tomorrow, and you never know.”

Saturday’s final group will showcase Golf’s Global Tour with the top-ranked players from Japan, the United States and Spain vying for the LOTTE Championship title. Miyazato and Kerr, both former Rolex Rankings No. 1’s, and Azahara Munoz tee off at 10:42 a.m. local time. Live coverage on Golf Channel airs from 7 to 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

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