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Golf: World’s top three set up sizzling Singapore showdown

World No. 2 Park In-bee is bidding for a wire-to-wire victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

World No. 2 Park In-bee is bidding for a wire-to-wire victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

March 7, 2015: The world’s top three ranked players will play together in the final round of the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore after Park In-bee carded a four-under-par 68 to lead by two from Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis, the World Nos. 1 and 3 each carding 67 on Saturday.

 

Park, 26, shared the lead for the first two days after rounds of 66 and 69 at Sentosa Golf Club, but the World No. 2’s third-straight bogey free round moved her to 13-under and ensured she owned the lead outright ahead of her two great rivals. The trio have shared the No. 1 ranking since March 18, 2013.

 

A month after being deposed at the top of the Rolex Rankings by 17-year-old Ko, Park showed she was keen to take back the mantle with another flawless round over The Serapong course, picking up birdies at six, seven, 13 and 18 in breezy conditions.

 

“I played another solid day. I played really good out there. I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I didn’t make all of them, but I was able to handle myself, be patient, and no bogeys out there is a really great result,” said Park, whose 12 LPGA titles include five majors.

 

“I think it’s going to be a really fun day tomorrow. It’s a great leaderboard and all the fans are looking forward to seeing our play. Having a two-shot lead over the No. 1 and No. 3 is a great result.”

 

Still only 17, World No. 1 Lydia Ko is bidding for a third win in three weeks.

Still only 17, World No. 1 Lydia Ko is bidding for a third win in three weeks.

Ko, golf’s youngest-ever No. 1, picked up birdies on three, four, 10, 11 and 18 as she bids for a third win in three weeks, having won the Women’s Australian Open and New Zealand Open back-to-back.

 

“I started off well with a four-under the first day. Yesterday was kind of a crazy day and today I hung on and made a couple of good birdies along the way,” said Ko, the Korea-born New Zealander.

 

“I was playing good the first couple of holes, but then I left a couple out there with those birdie opportunities on seven and a really good chance on 10. I just tried to give myself many opportunities.”

 

Park and Ko are looking to win the tournament for a first time, but Lewis is seeking to add to her 2013 title, when the tournament was first held in Sentosa after five years at Tanah Merah.

 

Stacy Lewis is looking for a second HSBC Women's Champions in three years.

Stacy Lewis is targeting a second HSBC Women’s Champions victory at Sentosa Golf Club.

“I’m pretty pleased. In the middle of the round, I couldn’t quite get anything going, so I was just happy with the way I stayed patient. I made a nice putt on 15 and then a couple of good ones coming in,” Lewis said.

 

“This golf course is tough. There’s a lot of tough hole locations, especially coming in, so hopefully we have some good weather again tomorrow and see some good golf like we did today.”

 

A quality chasing pack lurks, with Suzann Pettersen (68), Anna Nordqvist (68) and Azahara Munoz (70) on nine-under and Ryu So-yeon (69) on eight-under, one ahead of Feng Shanshan (68), Jessica Korda (70) and second-round co-leader Carlota Ciganda (74).

 

For leaderboard, visit: www.lpga.com/tournaments/hsbc-womens-champions/leaderboard

 

Source: HSBC Women’s Champions (www.hsbcgolf.com/womens); Editing by SportAsia

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