Choi in position for 5th win

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. — Na Yeon Choi took a three-stroke lead in the Safeway Classic on Saturday, shooting 2-under 69 to reach 8-under 134 on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek course.

The South Korean star, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had three birdies and a bogey in the second round after reeling off seven consecutive birdies during her opening 65.

Stacy Lewis (68) was second after. She started the round with four consecutive birdies but dropped three strokes with bogeys at Nos. 5, 9 and 10.

Mika Miyazato (67) was third at 3 under.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 68 to move into a tie for fourth at 2 under, along with Ryann O'Toole (69) and Grace Park (73). Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (72) was tied for 37th at 3 over, and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (76) missed the cut at 8 over.

Defending champion Ai Miyazato (74) was 10 strokes back at 2 over. Michele Redman, playing in her last tour event before she takes over as the women's golf coach at the University of Minnesota, missed the cut with rounds of 79 and 76.

PGA: Even during a rough start, Webb Simpson never lost his cool. He was rewarded with one of the hottest stretches of his young career. It put the local favorite in position for his first tour win.

Simpson shot 6-under 64 to move to 15-under 195 and take a two-stroke lead after three rounds at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

The 26-year-old Raleigh native and former Wake Forest player had four birdies and an eagle during his late charge at the final event before the playoffs start next week.

"You've got to really stay patient around this golf course, because bogeys are pretty quick to happen out here with the rough and the undulating greens," Simpson said. "I told myself to be patient and let the birdies come. It took them a while to get there, but (I) finally made a few coming in."

Tommy Gainey (69), who led or shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, was 13 under.

CHAMPIONS: Fred Couples shot 3-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Senior Players Championship in Harrison, N.Y., the tour's final major of the season.

Couples was at 11-under 202 and is trying for his first tour title since October at the Adminstaff Small Business Classic in Texas. Since his fourth victory on the senior tour, Couples has struggled with his back, but the injury has healed after a nontraditional procedure in Germany six weeks ago.

"It was a good day," Couples said. "I drove the ball well. The best thing I did is, I felt I hit the ball solid. It was a good round, not great, but I'm still in the lead, and I'll have to have a better round (today)."

Peter Senior (68) and John Cook (66) were second at 10 under.

Choi in position for 5th win 08/21/11 [Last modified: Sunday, August 21, 2011 12:20am]

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