TOMAKOMAI, Hokkaido – Ai Miyazato birdied the final hole of a shaky third round to cling onto the top spot on Saturday, taking a slim one-shot lead into the final round of the Japan LPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup.
Miyazato, who was one stroke clear after the completion of the second round in the morning, fired a 2-over-par 74 but kept herself at the top of the leaderboard as difficult conditions at the Nidom Classic Course sent scores higher.
U.S. LPGA rookie Miyazato, playing in her first tournament in Japan this year, carded three birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey in moving to 4-under 212.
South Koreans Jeon Mi Jung and Shin Hyun Ju were among only four players who broke par in the third round and are hot on the heels of Miyazato at 213 along with Yui Kawahara, who had a 73.
“My drives were terrible all day, making me hard to set up birdie opportunities,” Miyazato said. “But I made some key putts and I think I was able to play patiently in a round like this.”