Yani Tseng has the lead at -18 going into the final round of the State Farm Classic. Michelle Wie is in second place at -17 while Katie Futcher is in third place, two shots behind at -16. Hee-Won Han and Ji Young Oh are tied for fourth at -15 while Na Yeon Choi and Stacy Prammanasudh are tied for sixth at -13.
Tseng carded a 66 on Moving Day to move all the way to the top. Wie birdied four holes in a row at the start of the back nine to take the lead but Yani caught her with birdies at 14 and 16. Michelle failed to get up-and-down for par at 18 so she dropped one shot back. Futcher also got home in 66 after making her way around Panther Creek without taking any bogeys.
Hee-Won Han started the day at -4 and tied for 51st place. Starting off on #10, she birdied seven of her first eight holes to go out in 29. Han birdied her first three coming back to go -10 on the day and picked up another at 6. Her birdie attempt at 9 missed right – had it dropped, we would have had our second 60 in nine days. Needless to day, the round of 61 is the best of Hee-Won’s eight-year career.
Second-round leader Christina Kim faltered to a 73 and fell into a tie for eighth with Kyeong Bae and Wendy Doolan. Sherri Turner (who is NOT able to slam a revolving door) also posted 73 and is tied for 11th with Jee Young Lee, Beth Bader and Sun Young Yoo.
Some of you will be surprised by what I am about to say: I will be rooting for Michelle Wie to win tomorrow. Frankly, there isn’t anybody at the top of the board that I wouldn’t be pleased with winning but a victory by Wie RIGHT NOW could be a watershed moment for the LPGA. The American media has been waiting for more than two years for this weekend to arrive. I haven’t been the most pro-Wie observer, primarily because there haven’t been any results since mid-2006 to warrant the attention. If Michelle can break through tomorrow afternoon, that attention will finally be validated. And magnified. There is no doubt, many more golfy eyes would be on the LPGA for the rest of this season (and next) with no Tiger Woods around to create a diversion.
I would say the rise of Michelle Wie has already reaped one benefit for the LPGA. ESPN stayed five minutes past their scheduled sign-off time to show Wie finish up at 18. When was the last time any network did that for this Tour on Saturday?