Kerr in sight of 20th LPGA Tour win

Cristie Kerr is in pole position ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

KUALA LUMPUR: Cristie Kerr made it a Pink Saturday to remember as she put herself in prime position to claim her third victory of the season at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.

The seasoned American, who posted the tournament’s lowest score of 63 on Friday, mixed seven birdies with two bogeys for a round of six-under 65 at the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur.

Kerr totalled 15-under 198 to lead defending champion Shanshan Feng by a single shot in the US$1.8 million tournament.

Overnight leader Feng stayed in firm contention despite a quiet round by her own standards. The Chinese world number six carded three birdies in a round of 68.

South Korea’s Sei-young Kim (68)  is a further three shots back on 202  while American duo Stacy Lewis (66) and Jacqui Concolino (67) are tied for fourth.

Leading third round scores (Par-71)
198 – Cristie Kerr 🇺🇸 70-63-65
199 – Shanshan Feng 🇨🇳 66-65-68
202 – Sei-young Kim 🇰🇷 69-65-68
203 – Stacy Lewis 🇺🇸 71-66-66, Jacqui Concolino 🇺🇸 68-68-67
204 – Sarah Jane Smith 🇦🇺 74-65-65, Sung-hyun Park 🇰🇷 68-69-67, Danielle Kang 🇺🇸 68-67-69
205 – So-yeon Ryu 🇰🇷 72-67-66, Carlota Ciganda 🇪🇸 70-66-69, Madelene Sagstrom 🇸🇪 66-66-73

With 19 LPGA Tour victories to her name, the 40-year-old knows exactly what she needs to do heading into tomorrow’s final round.

“I’m just going to enjoy it. I’m really blessed. I’m just going to try to not put too much pressure on myself. I didn’t hit it great coming in on the back but I didn’t stress about it. I just tried to do the best I could. That’s where I play my best golf from; I try to do the best on every shot, so that’s my mantra tomorrow.”

Having won the Lacoste Ladies Open de France earlier in the month, Kerr is reaping the benefits of  a sound putting stroke that has held up under pressure time and time again.

“I’m very entrenched in what I need to do is as far as hitting it the speed and starting it on line. God’s blessed me with this gift. I’m not going to second guess it,” she added.

Shanshan Feng remains flawless this week ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

Feng has gone 54 holes without a bogey and remains a heavy favourite for the crown on Sunday.

“I think the key is to find the fairways and to find the greens here and I think that’s what I’ve been doing pretty well. Even if I’m not on the greens, maybe the up-and-downs wouldn’t have been too hard, but I’m just feeling comfortable here. I’m not really trying to think about that bogey-free thing, I just want to keep the good playing going,” she noted.

The eight-strong Malaysian contingent were unable to follow through on some of the promise shown in the first two rounds with four-over par being the benchmark score for the day, set by Winnie Ng, Kelly Tan and Aretha Pan.

Winnie Ng is poised to finish the tournament as the best amateur ©Azmizan Nordin|The ClubHouse

Sixteen-year-old national amateur Ng continues as the top local player despite dropping to 56th position for the tournament.

Speaking about her plan for the final round, Ng said: “My game plan is to play safe, play like a professional, hit for the middle of the green and hope for the best.”