Michelle Wie has company in David Leadbetter’s stable of players, and she’ll have to overtake one of them to have a chance to win her third LPGA title this season.
Jessica Korda shot a 5-under-par 67 to grab a share of the lead Saturday with South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace (66) at the Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island in China. They’re a shot ahead of South Korea’s Chella Choi (66) going into Sunday’s final round of an event shortened to 54 holes due to rains that wiped out most of play on Friday.
Korda, who recently moved under Leadbetter’s tutelage, is at 11-under 133 with Pace, while Wie (68), China’s own Shanshan Feng (68) and Brittany Lang (68) are two shots back. Danielle Kang (68) and Caroline Masson (69) are three behind. Saturday’s play was delayed another three hours due to rain.
Korda, who also is looking for her third victory this season, began working with Leadbetter late this year.
“David actually lives about 15 minutes away from my house,” Korda told reporters in China. “I have gone to his academy since I was 5 years old, and that's where I started playing golf. Hally, his daughter, is my age. We grew up together. So David seemed like a very easy transition.
“I also was looking for a coach that was more experienced and has been in positions to where he's taken the player's game to a different level.”
Wie is showing good form in her rebound from a finger injury that kept her out of competition for nearly three months. She tied for fifth last week in South Korea, the first event she has completed since late July.
“I hung in there today,” Wie said. “It was one of those days where I hit a couple of loose shots, and just things didn't feel as comfortable as they did yesterday, but it was one of those rounds where I just kept it together, had some good par putts ... Felt good coming in, so, hopefully, tomorrow feel a lot more comfortable and make some more birdies.”
Pace, 33, is looking for back-to-back wins. She won the South African Women’s Open in her homeland last week, her ninth Ladies European Tour title.