ORLANDO, Fla. — Hee Young Park birdied three of the final four holes for a 3-under 69 and a share of the third-round lead with Sandra Gal on Saturday in the LPGA Tour’s season-ending Titleholders.
Gal, the German player who won the Kia Classic in March for her first LPGA Tour title, shot a 71 in tricky wind conditions to match Park at 7 under at Grand Cypress Resort.
Park, from South Korea, is winless in four full seasons on the LPGA Tour.
She was asked if she’s ready to win.
“I don’t know, like is this the right sentence, but I’m very thirsty, right?” Park said. “Yeah, I’m ready.”
Gal dropped three strokes with a bogey on No. 8 and a double bogey on No. 9, then played the back in 2 under with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13.
“I’m actually pretty drained right now,” she said. “It was such a roller-coaster round, but it’s all just good. I’m happy to be up there leading. It was tough out there for me today.
“You probably saw I had a good start and then just in the middle of the round I had a couple bad holes. But I’m really proud of myself how I pulled it together on the back nine. Sometimes you’ve just got to hang in there and fight it out, and it was one of those days.”
Suzann Pettersen was a stroke back after a 68.
“At least I have a chance,” Pettersen said. “I mean, after the first day I was almost too far back, and I was a bit fortunate that the weather was what it was yesterday because had it been the same as day one, people could have easily got to two figures, and I would have almost been totally out of it. It was nice to grind it out yesterday and finish strong today.”
Paul Creamer (71) was 5 under. She’s winless this year.
“That’s what I want. I want to go against the best players head to head,” Creamer said. “If it’s my day, it’s my day, and if not, I know what I need to work on.”
Top-ranked Yani Tseng had a 66 — the best round of the day — to match Na Yeon Choi (75) at 4 under.
“I’m really happy and proud of myself,” Tseng said. “I mean, 6 under on this golf course with these conditions is not that easy, so I played really good today.”
Choi struggled after leading after each of the first two rounds
“I started good, but my shots and my putter weren’t as perfect as the last two days,” Choi said. “I have one more day. I’m going to the range to hit some shots and find some feel. I’ll come back tomorrow with some confidence.”
Tseng, coming of a 19th-place tie last week in Mexico, has seven LPGA Tour wins this season — including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open — and four other worldwide wins. The Taiwanese star leads the money list with $2,886,656 — $1,450,734 more than second-place Cristie Kerr — and has already won the player of the year award.
Michelle Wie was even par after a 72.