NAPLES, Fla. — A windy afternoon along the Gulf Coast of Florida played right into the hands of Sandra Gal on Friday in the LPGA Titleholders.
Gal, a 28-year-old German, controlled the flight of her ball and picked up three birdies on the back nine at Tiburon Golf Club, giving her a 3-under 69 and a three-shot lead in the LPGA Tour finale that pays $700,000 to the winner.
“My advantage was yesterday,” Gal said of her opening 64. “Shooting 8-under was big. Today it was hard for everybody to catch up. That’s what gave me that three-shot lead.”
Gal was at 11-under 133. Sun Young Yoo, the former Kraft Nabisco champ, had a 68 and was alone in second.
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Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old from New Zealand making her pro debut, played her final 10 holes without a birdie and finished at 71, leaving her nine shots behind.
Gal hasn’t won since her inaugural title at the Kia Classic two years ago, and her biggest disappointment this year was not getting picked for the Solheim Cup team.
Instead, she might have to settle for the biggest payoff in women’s golf. To win this week would amount to one-third of her career earnings.
“It’s easier for people to say, ‘I don’t care about the money, I only want to play well.’ But they don’t mean it, right?” she said with a smile.
• The LPGA Tour announced a 2014 schedule that adds four new tournaments, doesn’t have any breaks longer than two weeks off and offers average prize money of $1.75 million. The 32-tournament schedule for 2014 is up from 23 official events in 2011. And the total prize money is at $56.3 million. One tournament, in Portland, was listed as tentative. The tour has a date, a golf course and prize money, but is working out details with the sponsor.
• Jason Day shot a 5-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the World Cup at Royal Melbourne in his home country of Australia, which has a one-stroke lead over the U.S. in the team competition. Day had a three-round 9-under 204. Second-round leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark shot a 71 and was in second, while American Matt Kuchar had a 68 and was third, three behind. Early in the third round, Welshman Stuart Manley went from a hole-in-one to an 11 on back-to-back holes.
• Steve Williams, the caddie for Adam Scott, plans to cut down on his schedule after next year. From 2015, he’ll work six or seven months of the year, basically from the Florida swing in March on the PGA Tour through to the Tour Championship in September.
• Scott Brown shot a 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill and at 134 leads the Pebble Beach Invitational by one stroke over Jason Kokrak after two rounds. Kirk Triplett, a Pullman High graduate, had a 70 for a 139 total. Jeff Gove of Kenmore is at 142. Brian Mogg, formerly of Tacoma, is at 143, as is Michael Putnam of Tacoma. Andrew Putnam of Tacoma is at 145.
• Tiger Woods is moving his World Challenge to Isleworth Country Club in Florida in 2014.
• Charl Schwartzel shot a 7-under 65 to share the lead with Marco Crespi (67) at South African Open in Johannesburg.