Choi, Lee share lead in Australia
Victoria, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Chella Choi fired a 10-under 62 on Saturday and flew into a share of the lead after three rounds of the Women's Australian Open.
Choi was joined at 13-under-par 203 by amateur Minjee Lee, who posted a 4- under 68 in round three at Victoria Golf Club.
Lydia Ko carded a 3-under 69 and she ended 54 holes at minus-11. Suzann Pettersen, who can take over the top spot in the world rankings this week, managed an even-par 72 and she dipped into fourth at 10-under 206.
Second-round leader Caroline Hedwall stumbled to a 2-over 74 in round three and she fell into a share of fifth at 9-under 207. She stands alongside Karine Icher (70), Morgan Pressel (70), Jenny Shin (66), Marianne Skarpnord (68), Amelia Lewis (69), Mi Hyang Lee (68) and Holly Clyburn (71).
Choi started her third round with a birdie on the first. She ran off six straight pars from the second to remain at minus-4.
Her run of pars ended with an eagle on the par-5 eighth. Choi followed with a birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at 7-under.
Choi, whose best finish was a runner-up finish last year at the Mizuno Classic, birdied the 12th, but gave that shot right back with a bogey at 13.
That dropped her back to minus-7, but that is where she turned everything around.
Choi converted a birdie effort on the 14th and followed with birdies on the next three holes as well. That burst moved her to 11-under and she wasn't finished. The 23-year-old made eagle at the par-5 closing hole and was the first to end at 13-under.
"I missed (several) short irons the last couple of days, so I just tried to focus on just my short irons because if I have a lot of chances with my short irons, I (give myself) a lot of birdie chances," Choi said. "I miss a lot yesterday, so I practiced after my round yesterday. My pace was much better and my putting is much better than before."
Minjee Lee opened her round with a birdie on the first. After seven pars in a row, she birdied the ninth to make the turn at 11-under.
The Australian teenager traded a birdie for a bogey from the 12th. Lee followed with back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 to get to 13-under. She parred the last two to share the lead.
"No, not really, I just play," said Lee when asked if she is feeling any pressure. "I think it kind of lightens it up a little bit because I'm smiling all the time. I have a good chat with my coach."
NOTES: Choi's only other 54-hole lead came last year at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, where she ended in a tie for fourth ... Lee would be the fourth youngest winner in LPGA Tour history if she can claim the title ... Pettersen will move to No. 1 in the world if she can finish in a 2-way tie for second, or better.
02/15 06:37:46 ET