BELMONT, MICHIGAN – Inbee Park figures the best defense against the nerves that come with being in the lead is a hot putter.
Using a new blade putter this week, Park made two long birdie putts on the back nine Saturday and finished with a 3-under 68 to remain a stroke ahead after the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic.
“I feel like I haven’t holed that kind of putt for a long time and it’s all of a sudden happening this week,” Park said. “This putter, it seems like it’s going really on line and I feel like I’m stroking the ball better this week.”
The third-ranked South Korean player holed a 25-footer from the fringe on the par-3 14th, bogeyed the par-4 15th after missing a 3-foot par try and rebounded with a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.
The 26-year-old Park won six times last season and took the Manulife Financial in June in Canada for her 10th LPGA Tour title. She had a 13-under 200 total at Blythefield Country Club.
“I think it would have been nice if I had probably two- or three-(shot lead),” Park said. “That gives me more breathing room, but one is still better than nothing. I’m in better position than everybody else.”
South Korean rookie Mirim Lee was second after a 67. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was another stroke back after a 69.
Cristie Kerr matched the low round of the tournament with a 64 to jump 44 spots to a tie for 12th at 5 under. She hit 10 of 13 fairways and had only 26 putts.