Miyazato three clear at LPGA LOTTE Championship
Honolulu, Hawaii (Sports Network) - Ai Miyazato birdied the final hole Friday to post a two-under 70 and take a three-stroke lead after 54 holes of the inaugural LPGA LOTTE Championship.
Miyazato finished three rounds at 10-under-par 206.
Azahara Munoz, who shared the second-round lead with Miyazato, stumbled to a one-over 73 to slide into a share of second at minus-seven. She was joined there by Cristie Kerr (71).
Women's world No. 1 Yani Tseng and So Yeon Ryu both shot three-under 69 to share low round of the day honors. They moved into a share of fourth place with Angela Stanford (70), Meena Lee (71) and Jiyai Shin (70) at six-under- par 210 at Ko Olina Golf Club.
As her closest competitors struggled in Friday's breezy conditions, Miyazato had a steady front nine with eight pars and a two-putt birdie on the par-five fifth.
Around the turn, she tapped in a three-footer for birdie on the 11th, but gave that stroke right back with a bogey on the 12th. That was her first dropped shot since her final hole of the first round.
Miyazato played her third within four feet at the par-five 13th and rolled that putt in for birdie to get back to 10-under. She was four clear at that point.
The seven-time LPGA Tour winner tripped to a bogey on the 16th, but atoned for that mistake with a four-foot birdie putt at the last to end three clear.
"I just stay focused on everything and, you know, try to manage myself. I really handled things well, so I'm very happy with my round today," Miyazato said. "It was a really strong finish. I was really happy about that. The 18th is really difficult tee shot, and of course second shot was really tough, too. I had a really nice number today."
Munoz stumbled to bogeys on the second and third. She recovered one stroke with a birdie on the seventh, but bogeys on the ninth and 11th dropped Munoz to minus-five.
The Spaniard rallied with three birdies in a four-hole span from the 12th to jump back to minus-eight. However, she faltered to a bogey on the 16th before making pars on the final two holes.
Kerr, whose last win was at the 2010 LPGA Championship, birdied the second and third to grab a piece of the lead at minus-eight. She tripped to a bogey on the ninth, but erased that mistake with a birdie on No. 11.
The 34-year-old Kerr stumbled to bogeys on 12 and 14 to dip back to minus-six. She got one shot back with a birdie on the 15th. Kerr parred the final three holes to share second place.
"I kind of hung in their and made a couple of up-and-downs coming in," said Kerr in a television interview. "I hit a lot of good putts, but they just weren't falling."
NOTES: Miyazato owns the 54-hole lead for the fourth time in her LPGA Tour career...She won two of the previous three times she had at least a piece of the 54-hole lead...After winning five times in the 2010 season, Miyazato won the Evian Masters last year for her second win at that event.
04/20 23:22:44 ET