US Women's Open 2012: Day 3 Standings, Highlights, Top Contenders and More
The third round of the U.S. Women's Open is over. As it happened in the previous rounds, there's a new leader in the clubhouse, Na Yeon Choi who shot seven-under par 65 to lead by six strokes.
Choi has never hoisted a major championship trophy, but has won five LPGA titles and seven more on the KLPGA. Na Yeon could become the sixth South Korean to claim the U.S. Women's Open and she would do it on the same course where Se Ri Pak became the first South Korean to win this major.
When she finished, Choi said during her press conference, “I'm very excited, and this tournament is very special to all the Korean players.”
Today’s round puts Na Yeon in a tie with Karrie Webb and Judy Clark for the lowest third round score in the tournament’s history.
Choi had eight birdies and one bogey for her best round in this event. Having a six-stroke advantage can give the 24-year-old player some peace of mind as nobody has ever come from more than five shots behind in the last round to win.
If NYC wins tomorrow, she’ll become the 17th player to make the U.S. Women’s Open their first major championship win.
The fact that the course played tougher today makes NYC’s accomplishment even more impressive. The pin locations were tucked meaning that the golfers needed less club to reach the green, especially on the back nine.
Na Yeon birdied three consecutive holes, from 10 to 12, then added another red number at the par three 17th for an overall score of eight-under.
The wind was also a factor. Suzann Pettersen, who lost the lead after 54 holes, acknowledged, “The wind firmed up the greens a little bit, like the par 5 on 16, that's such a slippery little pin even if you're coming in with a chip shot."
Amy Yang, Choi’s fellow countrywoman, sits second at two-under after shooting three-under-par 69. Mika Miyazato, Lexi Thompson and Sandra Gal are tied for third at one-under while Vicky Hurst is sixth at even par.
Six other players complete the top 10 at one-over par: Nicole Castrale, Paula Creamer, Inbee Park, Lizette Salas, Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen.
Where’s Michelle Wie?
After posting a six-under 66 in round two to stay one stroke off the lead, Michelle Wie shot her worst round so far, six-over-par 78. The Hawaiian had three birdies on the front nine while carding two bogeys, a double bogey and a birdie on the back. She’s currently tied for 13th at two-over.
“I hit a couple of loose shots and I felt like my putts should have gone in that didn't go,” she said after her round.
What about the other top players?
World No. 1 Yani Tseng shot six-over for an overall score of eight-over, 15 strokes off the lead. The top-ranked American player Stacy Lewis signed an 80-shot scorecard and trails Na Yeon Choi by 17. Japan’s Ai Miyazato shot three-over and went from a tie for 13th to a tie for 15th.
What to expect for tomorrow?
The pin locations will be tougher, of course, and the wind is expected to blow as hard as today. East Northeast (ENE) at 5 to 10 mph, according to The Weather Channel. This means that lower scores will be rare and those who shoot one-under or even should take it and feel great about it.
If we stick to statistics, Na Yeon Choi will hoist the trophy, but there are several players who can charge and put some pressure on the South Korean.
Cristie Kerr can make a come back. Since her victory at the 2007 edition, she hasn't finished worse than 17th and carded three top threes.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen is also a player to keep an eye on. She is seeking to grab her first title this season. Furthermore, she has three top-10 finishes in this major.
Do not count out Paula Creamer who won the 2010 edition and knows how to handle the pressure in a major championship. Plus, she shot her lowest round today at one-under-par 71.
Notable pairings for the final round
|11:00 a.m.||Michelle Wie & Giulia Sergas|
|11:10 a.m.||Suzann Pettersen & Cristie Kerr|
|11:20 a.m.||Lizette Salas & Inbee Park|
|11:30 a.m.||Nicole Castrale & Paula Creamer|
|11:50 a.m.||Mika Miyazato & Lexi Thompson|
|12:00 p.m.||Amy Yang & Na Yeon Choi|
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