PHOENIX — Ai Miyazato birdied three straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 6-under 66 on Saturday for a share of the lead with Yani Tseng in the LPGA Founders Cup.
Miyazato, the ninth-ranked Japanese player who has seven LPGA Tour victories, birdied Nos. 14-16 and closed with two pars for a bogey-free round in partly cloudy, breezy conditions at Wildfire Golf Club.
“Definitely, it was more difficult than yesterday,” Miyazato said. “The wind makes more greens firmer, and I did have a long distance because some holes were really down wind. It was difficult to make birdies out there, but I was really patient, and my putting was really good.”
The weather is expected to a big factor Sunday, with the temperature plunging into the 50s and rain and strong wind forecast.
“It could be you need to make some birdies out there, but then you need to be really patient out there, too,” Miyazato said. “But it doesn’t matter about the weather.”
Tseng had a chance to take the outright lead on the par-4 18th after hitting to 10 feet out of the right fairway bunker, but her birdie putt rolled just past the left edge. The top-ranked Taiwanese star settled for a 67 to match Miyazato at 14 under.
“I was a little disappointed out there today,” Tseng said. “I played so good. I hit lots of good drives, and hit lots of good shots, and I missed like three short birdie putts.”
Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA Tour victory. She led the tour last season with seven victories — including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open — and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.
“If it’s windy on this golf course, it’s not easy. I mean the greens were pretty firm and the course is very narrow,” said Tseng, tied for the lead with Ai Miyazato after the third round Saturday.
“If it’s very windy tomorrow, you just want to keep it on the fairway, be patient all day and play smart. But I love the wind. Raining, it’s OK, so it’ll cool down a little bit.”
Tseng and Miyazato also played together in the final round in Thailand.
“It’s always fun to play with her,” Miyazato said. “I know her really well, and I think we like to play each other. I mean I like to play with Yani. I don’t know about her. We are totally different types of player, but it’s very inspiring to play with her.”
Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi was a stroke back after a 67. Fellow South Koreans players held the next two spots with I.K. Kim at 11 under after a 69, and Inbee Park 10 under after a 69.
Defending champion Karr Webb (70) was 9 under along with third-ranked Suzann Pettersen (67), fourth-ranked Cristie Kerr (66), sixth-ranked Paula Creamer (70), U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu (69), Hee-Won Han (68) and Hee Kyung Seo (69).