U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi leads entering Sunday's final round of the LPGA Titleholders tournament in Naples, Fla.
NAPLES, Fla. — So Yeon Ryu was rarely so nervous, with so many great players all around her.
She was in high heels, not golf shoes. She was giving a speech as the LPGA rookie of the year, not competing at the Titleholders. Compared with standing before a room full of high-profile players under bright lights, playing golf Saturday while trying to stay close to Na Yeon Choi and Ai Miyazato seemed easy.
“I was pretty nervous to prepare the speech,” Ryu said about the Friday-night awards dinner. “After speech, I was so much relieved and I slept so well because I don’t have to worry about speech thing. So maybe that’s why I’m playing great.”
She wasn’t alone in that regard.
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Choi overcame a careless three-putt on the third hole and was steady the rest of the blustery day at The TwinEagles Club. The U.S. Women’s Open champion drilled a hybrid shot to 15 feet for one last birdie on the par-3 17th hole for a 3-under-par 69 that gave her a one-shot lead over Miyazato.
Miyazato (71) took two chips to get onto the green and made double bogey on the par-5 second, and then laid up into a bunker on the par-5 fifth to make a bogey and fall behind. She rallied with four birdies on the back nine to stay in the mix.
Right behind was Ryu, so relieved from the Friday-night stress she ran off four straight birdies on the front nine before she slowed on the back. Maybe there was a reason for that, too. The 22-year-old South Korean said her lower back tightened at the turn, which she said might have been caused by wearing high heels to the dinner.
“I’m not really big high-heel fan,” she said. “Yesterday was a special day, so that’s why I took a high heel. I think it looks pretty great.”
• Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain shot a 2-under 68 for a share of the Hong Kong Open lead with Michael Campbell of New Zealand.
Campbell shot a 69 to match the 48-year-old Jimenez, the 2005 and 2008 winner, at 10 under. Italy’s Matteo Manassero (64), coming off a playoff victory in the Singapore Open, was a stroke back along with China’s Zhang Lian-wei (69).
Top-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland missed the cut and said he will have a lighter schedule next year; he has played in 24 tournaments, the Ryder Cup and two exhibition events.
McIlroy said, “I’ve probably played an extra couple of tournaments too much … “
• Defending champion Ian Poulter of England shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Australian Adam Scott (67) after the third round of the Australian Masters in Melbourne.
Poulter was at 13-under 203 at Kingston Heath.
• Henrik Stenson of Sweden closed in on his first European Tour victory in three years, shooting a 3-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the South African Open in Johannesburg.
Stenson was at 16-under 200 at Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate. South African George Coetzee (63) and Swede Magnus Carlsson (68) were tied for second place.