Saturday, March 17, 2018

Historic day puts Na Yeon Choi up big at U.S. Women's Open

KOHLER, Wis. — Na Yeon Choi had one of the best days in U.S. Women's Open history, taking control of the tournament with a 7-under 65 in the third round Saturday.

The South Korean sat at 8-under 208, six ahead of Amy Yang (69). Only four players have posted a lower round in the Open; the 65 tied the lowest third-round score in tournament history.

"I couldn't believe how I got eight birdies," Choi said. "I'm very happy. And I'm very satisfied, and I'm very excited."

Yang said she would keep things simple for today's final round: "I'm just going to keep being patient, try to do my best."

Coral Springs 17-year-old Lexi Thompson (72), Mika Miyazato (73) and Sandra Gal (74) were tied for third, seven behind Choi.

Suzann Pettersen, the second-round leader, and Michelle Wie, who was one back starting the day, each shot 78 to sit nine and 10 shots back, respectively. Christie Kerr, who was tied with Wie, shot 77 and was tied with Pettersen and four others.

"There's birdies out there," Pettersen said. "I think the wind is going to be a little bit less (today). So if you get off to a hot start, hopefully put a number down early in the clubhouse. Who knows?"

Yani Tseng, ranked No. 1 in the world, struggled, shooting 78 to sit at 8 over. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 74 a day after carding 80 and was 7 over. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (74) was 5 over. Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (81) was 11 over.

Choi had four birdies on the front nine, including her first two holes. She made a 20-foot birdie at No. 7, then birdied the first three holes of the back nine.

The only slipup was a three-putt at No. 13 for her only bogey. But she got the stroke back with a 15-foot birdie at the par-3 17th.

The lowest round in U.S. Women's Open history is 63 by Helen Alfredsson in 1994. Three others have shot 64.

"It will be a lot of pressure," Choi said of today. "But I know what I have to do, and I know what I can control."