Inkster Inches Into the Mix


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Juli Inkster fired a 5-under 67 to grab a share of the lead after three rounds of the Canadian Women's Open. She completed 54 holes at 9-under-par 207 and is tied with Beth Daniel, who carded her third straight 3-under 69.
Kim Saiki is alone in third place at 7-under-par 209. Se Ri Pak posted a 4-under 68 to climb into fourth place. She stands at 4-under-par 212 alongside Donna Andrews, Heather Bowie, Janice Moodie and Grace Park.
Most of the field had to contend with wet conditions. Heavy rain forced the players off the course for over 90 minutes before they were able to complete their third round. The leaders were on the sixth hole when the delay came.
Inkster began her round two strokes behind Daniel and one group ahead of the third-round leader at the Point Grey Golf & Country Club. Daniel extended her lead to three shots with a lengthy birdie putt at the par-three second.
While Daniel played steady golf, Inkster made her move. Inkster, who won the Corning Classic earlier this season, rolled in her first birdie at the par-4 fourth. She followed that with an eight-foot birdie putt at the next and made it three straight by birdieing the par-4 sixth.
'I think the hardest part was stopping and going,' said Inkster. 'Once we got back out there it was really slow. Just getting any momentum was tough. I was very fortunate, I parred three, which is like a bogey. Then it started to rain and I birdied Nos. 4 and 5, which were good birdies. After the delay, I came back out and made a good putt on six for birdie.'
The two players headed to the back nine tied at minus-7. Daniel drew first blood as she birdied the par-3 11th from five feet out to regain the lead. Both players converted birdie tries on the par-3 15th.
Inkster joined Daniel atop the leaderboard when she two-putted for birdie at the last to cap her round. Daniel was unable to birdie the par-5 last and will have to out-play her fellow Hall-of-Famer on Sunday to win.
The two leaders were the only players in the field to play bogey-free golf Saturday. Inkster knows Sunday will be a little easier to play since her and Daniel are close friends.
'Beth's a real good friend of mine and I really enjoy playing with her,' Inkster said. 'I think she's a great ball striker, she's a great player. I have a lot of respect for her. We'll just go out there and try to make some birdies, try to entertain the crowds and see what happens. If I can't win, if I could think of any other person I would want to win, it would be Beth.'
Daniel, who was paired with Inkster in the final round at the Corning Classic, will not change her game plan on Sunday.
'We played at the Corning Classic in the final round and I think she shot 62. She putted unbelievably well,' said Daniel, who has not won since 1995. 'I'll glance at the leaderboard, but I have to play my own game and I can't get into what Juli's doing or what anyone else is doing.'
Johanna Head made one of the biggest moves of the day with a 5-under 67. She stands at 3-under-par 213 and climbed from a share of 38th to solo ninth. Jeong Jang, Soo-Yun Kang and Becky Morgan are tied one stroke further back at minus-2.
Defending champion Meg Mallon dropped a shot to the leaders as she carded a 1-over 73. She stands at 2-over-par 218 through 54 holes.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open
  • BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open Leaderboard