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Choi grabs third-round lead at Bahamas LPGA Classic

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The Canadian Press
1/25/2014 6:10:28 PM
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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Na Yeon Choi shot a 7-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic, chipping to a foot to set up a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.

The seventh-ranked Choi, a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour, birdied three of the last four holes in her bogey-free round to reach 15 under on Atlantis Resort's Ocean Club course.

"I think the last three rounds I had a really good swing," Choi said. "I had so many good shots. But I still have to play aggressively tomorrow. So many players have a chance."

The South Korean player hit 16 greens in regulation after hitting all 18 in windy conditions Friday.

"I had so many solid shots out there." Choi said. "I missed two greens today. Only two, but I hit a putt from the fringe, so obviously I haven't chipped the last two rounds. Last two, three weeks I haven't practiced much, maybe like seven or 10 days only, and every day it's just work out like two hours, and then I went to Dallas for chiropractor just more like take care for my body and then I got great feeling about my swing."

Lizette Salas was a stroke back. She also had a bogey-free 66.

"I've been bogey-free for the last two days and I'm feeling great on the greens," said Salas, winless on the tour. "A win is always on my mind, and it's been a goal of mine since coming close last year in Hawaii."

Fighting flu-like symptoms, she birdied three of the first four holes on the back nine.

"Once I hit the turn, I was just on it and wanted to make as many birdies as I could." Salas said. "You can't always play perfect and that's the thing about this game. I was trying to play it as best I could coming down the stretch."

Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer each eagled the 18th to reach 12 under. Korda, the second-round leader, had a 72, and Creamer shot 71. Creamer also holed a sand wedge from 82 yards for an eagle on the par-5 11th, but lost a ball en route to a triple-bogey 8 on No. 15.

"Many things happened today, yes," Creamer said. "That's an understatement. I had a couple bad iron swings out there today. Obviously, the tee shot on the one hole. But I just didn't play well from there. You can hit it in the hazard all day and still make a bogey. There was no need to make a triple.

"But overall I'm proud of the way I finished with my attitude."

Korda had a double bogey on No. 13 after shanking a shot out of bounds.

"I'm really happy with the way I finished," Korda said. "I hit a lot of good shots today, really a lot of good putts that just didn't fall, so I can't be disappointed with that. I honestly had one bad shot."

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was tied for fourth at 11 under with Amelia Lewis and Jenny Suh. Stacy Lewis had a 68, Amelia Lewis shot 66, and Suh had a 71.

"If you're coming from behind, I think it's a good spot to be in," Stacy Lewis said. "If you've got the lead and you've got all these people chasing you, I think it's a hard position to be in. I actually like where I am and I like that I'm going to get out tomorrow a couple groups early and hopefully can make a couple putts early and then kind of put some pressure on the leaders."

Michelle Wie and 16-year-old Lydia Ko were in the group at 10 under. Wie followed her second-round 65 with a 72. Ko, making her first start as an LPGA Tour member, had a 71.

Na Yeon Choi (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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