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Park hoping for third victory this season
October 27, 2012

Inbee Park -18, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Suzann Pettersen -16, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Yani Tseng -14, Rolex Rankings No. 1

Rolex Rankings No. 5 Inbee Park will carry a two-shot lead into the final round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship as she tries to capture her third victory of the 2012 season. Park fired a tournament record 8-under 64 on Saturday and sits at 18-under-par entering Sunday’s final round. She tallied two eagles and five birdies while recording one bogey in her stellar third round.

Trailing two back of Park is Rolex Rankings No. 7 Suzann Pettersen (@SuzannPettersen), who is trying to capture her second straight victory in as many weeks on the LPGA Tour. Pettersen, who won the LPGA KEB·HanaBank Championship last week, shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday. Also lurking not far behind is Rolex Rankings No. 1 and Taiwan native Yani Tseng (@YaniTseng) who sits four shots back at 14-under-par.

Inbee Park continues to amaze with her incredible play of late. She set a new tournament 18-hole record with her 8-under 64 on Saturday, which gave her a two-shot cushion heading into Sunday’s final round.

“I think today probably was almost perfect for me,” Park said. “I hit the ball great and putted really good today. So couldn't ask for better weather. It was a perfect day. The conditions of the golf course was perfect. I mean I was able to go at every pin, so I was able to play aggressive.”

Park is looking for her third victory of the season this week. She has already captured the first multi-win season of her career after capturing her second title in Malaysia two weeks ago. But with the way that Park has been striking the ball and continuing her consistent putting, it seems that the other players almost expect her to be near the top of the leaderboard each week.

“She just have to hit on the green to make birdie,” Yani Tseng said of Park. “Her putting, when you watch her putting she seems very relaxed and she don't care whether she misses or goes in. Inside 12 feet is like giving putts for her and then for us we're like trying to make that. So it's very different. So for the last hole she had like six feet, and I think that's giving a putt for her. Hopefully tomorrow I play with her and I can learn something from that to use on the golf course and try to play better.”

Suzann Pettersen has been close to a breakthrough all season and right now it appears that she’s putting together some of her best golf of the year.

Just one week after capturing her first victory of the 2012 season, Pettersen has put herself in position once again to perhaps take home another title. The 31-year-old fired a bogey-free 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round and sits just two shots back of leader Inbee Park entering the final round.

“Today was another great round of golf,” Pettersen said. “Feeling very good. I think it was all three of us that played pretty good and we kind of managed to kind of keep ourselves kind of keep the momentum going from hole to hole.

“It was kind of tough at times to play with Inbee that chipped in from everywhere. I think Inbee had two eagles, but it was great because we pushed each other and you just kind of pushed the limits and it was great. Inbee played fantastic today, 8-under, so flawless.”

On Sunday, Pettersen will be paired in the final group with Park and hometown favorite, Yani Tseng. Pettersen and Tseng are good friends who enjoy competing against each other. Both of them are starting to see their games round into form at the same time and it’s allowed the two of them to push each other. That included a little side wager between the two on Saturday, which Pettersen lost due to the fact that Tseng had an eagle even though they shot identical scores.

“It's good to see her playing good, especially here in Taiwan in front of her own crowd,” Pettersen said of Tseng. “I really don't care where she is, personally, but obviously good for the crowd and the tournament that she's up there, good for the media. I'm happy to see that she's playing better.

“We practiced, I know her really well. We share ideas, we share thoughts, and it's kind of fun that we both kind of the games are starting to click. And I guess we're playing together tomorrow, so I guess there will be a few more bets in the group. I lost today shooting 66. So that's no good.”

It’s been seven months since Yani Tseng last hoisted a trophy on the LPGA Tour, but the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings is making a strong push to get back into the winner’s circle this week in her home country.

The Taiwan native has put herself within striking distance heading into Sunday’s final round, sitting four shots back of leader Inbee Park, after shooting a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round. It is the lowest round for Tseng since she shot a 66 in the first round of the CN Canadian Women’s Open back in late August.

Tseng captured wins in three of the first five events on the LGPA schedule this season before hitting a skid in the middle of the year. While there was a stretch where it seemed difficult for Tseng to shoot in the 60s, she certainly sounded like her old self when talking about her slight disappointment in only turning out a 6-under 66 on Saturday.

“I don't feel like 66 was a bad round for me,” Tseng said. “I feel like I left lots of birdie chances out there today. And I didn't putt well again today, and I just feel very struggling out there. But it was still good. Had a bogey-free round and 6-under, but it's still very hard to catch Inbee and Suzann, but hopefully tomorrow can be aggressive and hopefully my putting is getting better tomorrow.”

It was a day for low scores at the Sunrise Golf & Country Club where eagles and birdies were found in ample supply.

A total of 10 eagles were made on the day, including two by leader Inbee Park. On the par-5 sixth, Park chipped in for eagle although she was matched by her playing partner Catriona Matthew who followed up with her own eagle chip-in immediately after. Suzann Pettersen watched both of them chip in before hitting a decent chip shot of her own, although her birdie on the hole seemed almost disappointing by comparison.

“It takes a perfect shot, and I know Inbee can hit those flop shots, and it came out perfect, and from the minute that landed on the green that was right in the middle of the hole,” Pettersen said. “And Beany [Catriona Matthew] looked at me and was like really? And then she steps it up and chips it in. I'm like, well, if I hadn't made birdie there, it would have felt like a double bogey, but I was just glad I made a birdie. But it was fun to watch and it was kind of fun to first watch Beany, her reaction on Inbee's kind of shot, kind of where did that come from and then she chips it in and looks at me like, what are you all doing.”

There were 31 players in the 76-player field shot in the 60s on Saturday and the scoring average for the field was 70.92. But the weather forecast for Sunday’s final round is calling for the winds to pick up for the first time all week, which could make scoring conditions much more difficult.

Not that Yani Tseng minds a little more wind.

“If the wind picks up, I think that's where the challenge is going on,” said Tseng. “So hopefully tomorrow the wind will pick up a little bit, and this is where I practice. So I think if wind picks up and it's going to help me a lot.”

Watching Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) play golf on Saturday, one would never have known that the No. 11 ranked player in the Rolex Rankings was feeling under the weather. Creamer moved her way up the leaderboard on “Moving Day” in Saturday’s third round with a 5-under 67 to put herself in a T12 at 7-under-par.

Creamer has been ill over the past few days and she tweeted about it before teeing off on Saturday.

“Well hopefully today is better than yesterday. No fun being sick on the golf course makes it a little bit harder to play.” -- @ThePCreamer

Only three events remain on the 2012 schedule before the season-ending CME Group Titleholders and players who have not yet qualified for the tournament will be in a final chase for a spot in the limited-field event. The season finale, which will be held Nov. 15-18 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., will feature a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament this season. Players who have not yet qualified but are in the hunt this week after three rounds of play are as follows: Belen Mozo T6 (-9); Pornanong Phatlum, T15 (-6); Paige Mackenzie T22 (-3); and Alison Walshe, T22 (-3).

Rolex Rankings No. 52 Michelle Wie fired a 4-under 68 on Saturday and sits in a T19 at 5-under-par. After getting off to a slow start with a 74 in the opening round, Rolex Rankings No. 3 Na Yeon Choi has rebounded to put herself in position for another top-10 finish. Choi followed up her second-round 67 with a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round to sit in a T6 at 9-under-par.


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