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Park in position to end four-year dry spell
June 23, 2012

Inbee Park -14, Rolex Rankings No. 26
Brittany Lang -12, Rolex Rankings No. 35
Hee Kyung Seo -12, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Anna Nordqvist -10, Rolex Rankings No. 31
Nicole Hage -9, Rolex Rankings No. 503
Sandra Changkija -9, Rolex Rankings No. 527
Karin Sjodin -9, Rolex Rankings No. 87
Lexi Thompson -8, Rolex Rankings No. 23

2008 U.S. Women's Open champion Inbee Park is in position to claim her first victory in nearly four years with a two-shot lead entering the final round of the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Park fired a third-round 66 and sits at 14-under-par 199, two shots ahead of Hee Kyung Seo and Brittany Lang at 12-under-par 201. Her day, which included six birdies, was nearly flawless aside from a bogey at the 17th hole.

"I hit the ball very good today, I hit a lot of good iron shots, and I think I played par 5s really good today; that helped me a lot," said Park. "There was some more putts out there that I could have made, but I was really happy with the way I hit the ball today and hopefully tomorrow it will be a better putting day."

Park has been steady this season, finishing inside the top 26 in each of the past eight tournaments dating back to the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. This week is Park's 79th tournament since becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open. Her best finish in that stretch is second at the 2010 Kia Classic. She has become a regular player on the LPGA of Japan (JLPGA) in recent years, amassing four victories including one last month. Park has earned just north of $3.1 million in her six year career is currently 30th on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with $180,144.

Brittany Lang is in search of her first victory on the LPGA Tour after an eagle at the 18th hole propelled her into a tie for 18th. Lang, who has her brother Luke on the bag, carded 15 pars on her day before going 4-under-par through her final three holes with birdies at 16 and 17 and an eagle at 18 where she knocked her second shot inside five feet to card a 4-under-par 67.

"I hit some good putts and some good shots and I just couldn't get anything going," said Lang. "But I stayed patient and positive and finally made the birdie on 16 and got some energy and hit a great shot into 17. That was a great ‑‑ and even that, it's tricky to read the greens out here. You can hit good putts and not make them, but I stayed positive and just hit two awesome shots on 18. I'm very happy with that finish."

A two-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team (2009, 2011), Lang is considered to be one of the best players on the LPGA Tour without a victory. The 26-year-old Texan has five second-place finishes in her career including the 2011 RICOH Women's British Open where she was runner-up to Yani Tseng.

2010 Kia Classic champion Hee Kyung Seo is seeking her first victory as a member of the LPGA Tour this week in Waterloo. The 25-year-old South Korean shot 4-under-par 67 on SaturdaySeo claimed her first LPGA title while playing on a sponsor's exemption as a member of the Korea LPGA (KLPGA). With that victory, she earned LPGA status for 2011 and went on to win Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors. Seo started her 2012 campaign strong with a tie for second at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, where she lost in a six-way playoff to Jessica Korea. She also recorded a tie for sixth at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and a tie for fourth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She enters this week coming off a missed cut at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

On paper, Stacy Lewis was the favorite entering this week's inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. In the last four tournaments, the 27-year-old has posted two victories (Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, ShopRite LPGA Classic), a tie for fifth (Sybase Match Play Championship) and a tie for second at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. The No. 2 player on the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings is currently six shots back with 18 holes remaining at Grey Silo Golf Course. Lewis started the week slow with a 1-over-par 72 on Thursday, but went low on Friday, posting a 7-under-par 64. Lewis added a 2-under-par 69 on Saturday to give herself an outside chance at her third win in the last six events.

Playing in just her second tournament of the 2012 season, Nicole Hage finds herself in unfamiliar territory. The 26-year-old Floridian recorded an eagle on the 18th hole to move into a tie for fifth at 9-under-par 204. Hage's career-best finish came at the 2010 Navistar LPGA Classic where she tied for 20th. A member of the LPGA and the Symetra Tour, Hage has played five tournaments this season on the Road to the LPGA with a season-best tie for seventh at the Sara Bay Classic. On Friday, Hage carded a career-low 65

Saturday was a special day at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic as this week's title sponsor Manulife Financial celebrated its 125th anniversary. Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial company with extensive international operations. The company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. John Hancock is also celebrating 150 years in 2012.

"This has been the nicest tournament I think I've ever played in," said Nicole Hage. "This is my fifth year on Tour and it's just been first class from just every little detail and the fans out here are just unbelievable. I played in seven Opens and these fans are awesome."

"Her swing sometimes seems painfully slow, but it works." – Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin on Inbee Park's deliberate golf swing

Of the five Canadians who made the cut at the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, rookie Maude-Aimee Leblanc was the only one to break par today. The long-hitting rookie shot 3-under-par 68 on Saturday and leads the pack at 4-under-par 209… The 18th hole at Grey Silo could produce a fantastic finish tomorrow at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. The 471-yard par-5 has produced 188 birdies and nine eagles through three rounds of play… In her bid to win back-to-back tournaments, China's Shanshan Feng is five shots off the pace of leader Inbee Park… Two-time LPGA winner Anna Nordqvist is four shots off the lead at 10-under-par 203. She is seeking her fourth top-10 finish in the last five tournaments.


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