PITTSFORD, N.Y. – The leaderboard at the Wegmans LPGA Championship looks oddly familiar. Five of the top six players are South Koreans, and four of those Koreans are major champions.
The only non-Korean is Morgan Pressel, another major winner who only recently found her form. Pressel drained a 30-foot putt for par on the 18th hole to stay within one stroke of leader Inbee Park, the current World No. 1 and reigning Kraft Nabisco champion.
Earlier this week Park, Jiyai Shin and Na Yeon Choi participated in a press conference together as the last three major winners on tour. Asian-born players have won the last eight LPGA majors. Mathematically-speaking, the odds are stacked against 25-year-old Pressel.
“You know, I scrambled out there,” said Pressel, “but I scrambled well.”
Nonstop rains earlier in the week canceled play on Thursday, forcing officials to schedule a 36-hole finale on Sunday. It looked as though Pressel might build a sizable cushion heading into the final round when she took a commanding four-shot lead midmorning. But Park, a quiet type who makes a habit of sneaking up on fields, caught Pressel with four birdies in a five-hole stretch.
“I putted great today and got up‑and‑down from a lot of places,” said Park, currently the best putter on tour.
Park shot 4-under 68 on a mercifully sunny day at Locust Hill, needing only 26 putts to open up a one-shot lead on the field. She hit nine fairways and 12 greens and could be found sitting under a tree by the practice putting green eating her lunch as her fiance/instructor made swings in the air. She had 25 minutes between rounds.
Shin, 2009 Wegmans LPGA champion, posted a 69 to get within two strokes. Sun Young Yoo and Choi shot matching 70s and were at 4 under.
Several American stars struggled early on Sunday. Brittany Lincicome started the third round four shots back of Pressel but tumbled quickly down the leaderboard with a 77. Stacy Lewis and Jessica Korda played their way out of contention with 76s.
Fan favorite Michelle Wie, however, looking for her first top 10 at a major since the 2011 Kraft Nabisco, shot 71 and is tied for 10th.