South Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee doesn’t want to change a thing.
Lee shot a 6-under 66 to take the top spot on the leaderboard on Saturday in the third round of the LPGA Manulife Classic. Playing alongside fellow Korean Hyo Joo Kim, who shot a 68 to sit in second and a shot behind the lead, Lee will be in the same pairing for the fourth and final round.
“I just want to play my golf. That’s it,” said Lee when asked about her strategy for Sunday’s round. “I want to play my golf, yeah.”
Lee was so focused on just playing her game that she didn’t even know she was the leader until she had to add up her scorecard.
“I made a lot of birdies today. I made six birdies and one eagle, but I didn’t know that,” said Lee. “So just when I checked my score at the score tent, it was a little amazing for me.
“Everything is good and I think my chips have been better the last two days.”
Lee will have a lot of competition in a very close field, with eight other players within four shots of her, including world No. 1 Lydia Ko.
Ko had the best round of the day, firing an 8-under 64 to surge up the leaderboard and briefly hold the top spot before later pairings, including Lee and Kim, passed her.
Ko, from New Zealand, is prepared for another big round on Sunday and thinks it will be to her advantage to have a later start time.
“I think the weather is going to be pretty similar (Sunday),” said Ko. “When you see the leaders, they’ve shot some low numbers, and it means they’re confident with the iron shots going in and also confident with the putter. When the leaders are like that, you know you kind of need to be on that stick or even better when you’re trying to catch up.
“So hopefully it’s a low one, but I’m just going to enjoy it out there.”
Ko now sits in a tie for seventh with Scotland’s Catriona Matthew (66) and American Lizette Salas (66) at 10 under.
Matthew also briefly held the lead but a her approach shot found its way between the scorers’ tent and a grandstand, landing near a trailer. An official scorer had to be consulted and she was allowed a relief from a provisional spot to the right of the grandstand.
“I was kind of between clubs, and I went for a little 5,” said Matthew. “I mean when I hit the second one, obviously I should have hit a 6. That’s just the way it goes.”
Although struggling to keep up with the field, the four remaining Canadians are easily the biggest draws for fans.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (70) and Quebec City’s Anne Catherine Tanguay (68) were the low Canadians, tying for 23rd at 7 under. World No. 3 Brooke Henderson (69) of Smiths Falls, Ont., is at 6 under, tied for 29th, while Maude-Aimee Leblanc (72) of Sherbrooke, Que., was tied for 46th.
“The fans are amazing,” said Sharp. “There are so many people out here watching and it’s great to see for women’s golf. We don’t get a lot of tournaments where we get huge crowds like this so you’ve got to soak it up.”
Second round leader Marina Alex of the United States fell out of contention with a 1-over 73 performance to land in a seven-way tie for 10th at 9 under. World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66, leaving her two strokes back in her bid win three straight events for the second time this season.Report Typo/Error