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Granada takes 1-stroke lead into final day
November 22, 2014

Julieta Granada will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship. Granada, who sits at 9-under for the event, will be looking to hold off a strong back of competitors including Morgan Pressel and Carlota Ciganda who sit a stroke back.

“I played pretty well today; super consistent,” Granada said. “I hit a lot of fairways and I hit a lot of greens. I made some good putts out there. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow, see what
tomorrow brings.”

Granada got off to a strong start with a birdie at the par-5 first and added another at the eighth to make the turn in 2-under. The back nine was more up-and-down for Granada who tallied two birdies and two bogeys to wrap up her round of 70.

“I’m aware of what’s going on,” Granada said. “I like to know where I stand. Like I said before, I just have to keep playing my game and trust my game, that it’s good enough to win out here.”

The Race to the CME Globe will also come down to Sunday as Lydia Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis all find themselves within six strokes of the lead and in excellent position to take home the inaugural title.

As it stands, Stacy Lewis is in first place but is closely followed by Lydia Ko. Lewis is currently sitting in a tie for 10th while Ko is tied for fifth.

“I’ve been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe that kind of stuff for three, four weeks now. Unfortunately that’s not going to go away overnight,” Lewis said. “I’ve just got to go hit some greens tomorrow. That’s all I’m going to try to do. If the putts go in, great; if they don’t, I’m going to take -- any par on this then golf course good.”

“I’m not going to really think about it,” Ko said. “I’m just going to go out there tomorrow like did today and not think about the big money that comes at the end of tomorrow.”

The unflappable teen: The Race to the CME Globe projections waffled seemingly on a per-hole basis during the third round of the CME Group Tour Championship. Michelle Wie would take the lead, then Stacy Lewis seized the throne, then Lydia Ko, and it went back and forth while the three passed the baton.

When the day closed, Ko and Wie led Lewis in the tournament at 6 and 5-under-par, respectively, but weren’t able to hold on to their No. 1 projection and Lewis again emerged from the third round with her post in tact as the leader-in-the-clubhouse for the Race to the CME Globe with just one round remaining.

But with $1 million on line, Ko’s the only one in contention for the Race to the CME Globe that isn’t thinking about it. Call it the youthful bliss of a 17-year-old or simply the hyper focus of one of the world’s elite, but whatever it is, it’s working.

“I actually haven’t really thought about it much. I come to the press room or get asked by the media and that’s when I go, ‘Oh, there is $1 million on the line,” Ko said. “When I’m out there I’m trying to make as many birdies as I can. The wind, to figure out how much the wind is, if it’s left or right or if it’s into, that’s hard enough. I think that’s actually
keeping me a little distracted.”

Ko surely made a charge though on a day that saw her reel off four birdies in the first seven holes on her way to a third-round 67. She sprinkled in a birdie on No. 14 and bogeys on No. 9, 12 and 16 to let go of the No. 1 projection but nearly stole it back with back-to-back birdies on the last two holes. Her birdie on 18 was particularly beautiful, hitting a 6-iron that took a hop forward to three feet from the hole.

“It was kind of the most perfect shot I could ever hit,” Ko said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to repeat that shot again.”
When she tees off Sunday in a round she controls her own destiny in for the million, she’ll have the same strategy as she had Saturday: Let the birdies do the talking.

“I’m not going to really think about it,” Ko said. “I’m just going to go out there tomorrow like I did today and not think about the big money that comes at the end of tomorrow.”

Ko was actually more nervous about giving her Rolex Rookie of the Year speech Thursday night than she is playing for a million.

“I’m so glad that’s over,” Ko said when asked. “It’s not something that I enjoy. Like when I’m out there having some fun making jokes, that makes the whole situation better. Everybody was nice enough that they laughed at what I was saying. I think that really made the night much better.”

An unlucky break: No. 11 – 6. Those two numbers could be the ones that end up haunting Michelle Wie’s offseason. After bogeying the first two holes Saturday, Wie reeled off four birdies in her next five holes. She seemed to be on cruise control then the disaster happened – a double bogey on No. 11 where a 7-iron approach she thought was perfect but was short in the bunker, leaving her a nasty lie. She played the last seven holes in even par and is only four back of the lead. But the double created a dramatic swing. Heading into No. 11, she owned the No. 1 projection in the Race to the CME Globe. Leaving 18, she sits fifth. That’s a potentially million dollar swing for those counting at home.

“Just definitely wasn’t consistent out there, but I am proud of myself. You know, I lost a couple strokes early and I definitely made four birdies almost in a row. Just got unlucky on 11,” Wie said. “Just one of those days that the fine line between shooting 3-under and shooting par.”

Still, at five-under-par after an even-par 72 on Saturday, Wie’s right there. She’s still one great round away from being the inaugural Race to the CME Globe champion. She’s still one round away from potentially winning this golf tournament and earning her third win of the year – more than she’d won in her entire career prior. She didn’t feel like she hit the ball that squirrely and felt like her short game was “horrendous.” After speaking to reporters outside of the scorer’s tent, she headed to the greens to hopefully clean that up in time for Sunday.

“Today I felt like it could have gotten away from me, but I’m proud of myself for staying in there. I still have a chance for tomorrow. I’m not out of it. You know, that’s all I can ask for,” Wie said. “I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”

Lewis opens up lead for the Vare Trophy: Stacy Lewis has yet to completely lock up the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the LPGA Tour this season, but it would require a remarkable round by Inbee Park in Sunday’s final round of the CME Group Tour Championship for Lewis to lose her grasp on the honor.

A 2-under 70 by Lewis on Saturday has put her five strokes ahead of Park in this week’s event. Lewis currently sits in a tie for 10th at 3-under-par while Park’s 1-over 73 on Saturday moved her into a tie for 38th at 2-over-par overall. In order to finish with a lower scoring average than Lewis, Park would need to best her by nearly 15 shots in the final round.

Lewis is trying to become the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to sweep the LPGA’s three key season-ending honors – Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy & Official Money List title. Lewis has nearly locked up the two other honors as well. Park needs an eighth place finish or better to have a shot at the Rolex Player of the Year award and she needs a victory in order to bypass Lewis for the money title.

Who's in the mix for the $1 million check: While nine players entered the week with a mathematical chance to win the Race to the CME Globe, there are really five players who have a good opportunity to take home the $1 million prize heading into Sunday’s final round.

No. 1 Stacy Lewis – Currently sitting in a tie for 10th, Lewis has the easiest road on Sunday of any player to the $1 million prize. With some help, Lewis has an opportunity to win the Race to the CME Globe if she finishes in the top 40. A win would automatically clinch the victory for her, although she’ll be watching Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie closely as those two likely could provide the biggest competition for her.

No. 3 Lydia Ko – Win the tournament and Ko clinches the $1 million prize. Otherwise, she really needs to finish fifth or better to have a strong chance at winning with where Stacy Lewis currently stands. Ko enters Sunday’s final round in a tie for fifth at 6-under par – just three shots off the lead.

No. 4 Michelle Wie – Based on the leaderboard at the conclusion of Saturday’s third round, Wie likely needs a fourth-place finish or better to have any chance at taking home the $1 million. Wie sits in a tie for seventh at 5-under but is only four shots back of current leader, Julieta Granada.

No. 5 So Yeon Ryu – The road is a little tougher for Ryu, who needs at least a top-3 finish and some help to walk away with the $1 million prize. Ryu is currently in a tie for fifth with Ko at 6-under-par and her eyes will be on Ko and Wie, who could severely diminish her chances with strong finishes on Sunday.

No. 6 Shanshan Feng – The mission for Feng is pretty clear if she wants to take home the $1 million – win. Feng must finish in the top 3 to have any chance at all of winning the Race to the CME Globe but with how the leaderboard
currently stands, she needs to repeat her victory from last year in Naples to really have a shot. Feng finished Saturday in a tie for 17th, seven shots off the lead.

Race to the CME Globe projections: Here is how the top-9 in the Race to the CME Globe peformed during the third round:

CME Ranking
Score Today
Projected Ranking
Stacy Lewis
Inbee Park
Lydia Ko
Michelle Wie
So Yeon Ryu
Shashan Feng
Anna Nordqvist
Chella Choi
Karrie Webb

Quote of the day: “Same as every caddie, 10%. She’s going to be happy.”

-Julieta Granada what her mom’s cut of the winnings will be if she holds onto the lead tomorrow.

Eagles for a cause:
“Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group donated $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. The amount increased to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.

There were no eagles recorded today which keeps the total money raised this year at $283,000.


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