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Choi (63) tears up Torrey Pines to lead by two

September 20, 2009|Associated Press

All phases of Na Yeon Choi's game were clicking Saturday and it showed in her third round at the Samsung World Championship at La Jolla.

The South Korean shot a career-best nine-under-par 63 at Torrey Pines to take a two-stroke lead over compatriot and second-round leader Jiyai Shin, who had a 68.

"I had a great round today," Choi said. "I feel almost perfect with everything. My driver was good, iron shot good, and wedge and putter good. I think perfect today."

Choi finished at 15-under 201 to tie the tournament's three-round record that Annika Sorenstam set when she won in 2002 and 2005.

Choi has never won on the LPGA Tour, but has eight top-10 finishes this year, including a tie for ninth at the U.S. Women's Open.

After yielding 14 rounds in the 60s the first two days, the course was toughened up with faster greens and tighter pin placements Saturday. Only Ai Miyazato of Japan (68), Shin and Choi shot in 60s in the field of 20. Shin and Miyazato, who played together, were amazed by Choi's score.

"That's a really solid round," Miyazato said. "Nine under, that feels like 12 under on a normal golf course. This is not a very easy golf course."

Miyazato was three strokes back in third after her third consecutive 68.

No. 1-ranked Lorena Ochoa of Mexico shot a 72 and was tied for fourth place with Paula Creamer, seven strokes back.

After making the turn at 30, Choi had birdies on Nos. 11-12 to get to eight under and have a chance at a 59, the LPGA Tour record Sorenstam set in 2001 at the Standard Register PING.

"I didn't think about that," Choi said. "Actually I didn't know that after 12th hole I had made a birdie putt. I just try and reach the hole."

She stalled after that, making two pars and a bogey on the 419-yard, par-four 15th when she three-putted.

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Price, Haas tied

Jay Haas and Nick Price shared the lead at the Greater Hickory Classic, but 31 players were within six strokes of the leaders going into the final round at the Champions Tour event at Conover, N.C

Haas, the 2005 winner, and Price are at 11-under 133 after two rounds at Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Robert Trent Jones course.

Haas shot a one-under 71, while Price -- a three-time major winner on the PGA Tour -- vaulted into contention with a five-under 67.

Gil Morgan (70), who trailed Haas by three strokes after Friday's round, slid into a tie for third at 135 with Andy Bean (68) and Russ Cochran (68).

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