Baba leads Japan Women’s Open


Yukari Baba struggled to a 4-over 74 but found herself atop the leaderboard after no player broke par in the third round of the Japan Women’s Open on Saturday.

Baba made one birdie and five bogeys on Nagoya Golf Club’s famed Wago Course for a total of 6-over 216, two strokes ahead of Ritsuko Ryu and South Korea’s Lee Ji Hee.

“I think I played well,” said Baba, who finished fourth in the 2010 money rankings.

“Looking at the playing conditions in the morning, I thought that 4 over would be like matching par for the day. It was windy from the morning, and the greens were getting really firm, so I kind of knew I would need more shots for the round than usual.”

Ryu had the day’s best score of 71 on a course that features tight fairways and killer roughs, bouncing back from three straight bogeys on the front nine with birdies on the 11th and 15th holes.

Lee, the 2008 champion, turned in a 74.