PHOENIX — Ai Miyazato birdied three consecutive holes on the back nine and finished with 6-under-par 66 for a share of the lead with Yani Tseng in the LPGA Founders Cup.
Miyazato, the ninth-ranked Japanese player who has seven LPGA Tour victories, birdied Nos. 14-16 and closed with two pars for a bogey-free round in partly cloudy, breezy conditions at Wildfire Golf Club.
“Definitely, it was more difficult than yesterday,” Miyazato said. “The wind makes more greens firmer, and I did have a long distance because some holes were really down wind. It was difficult to make birdies out there, but I was really patient, and my putting was really good.”
The weather is expected to a big factor today, with the temperature plunging into the 50s and rain and strong wind forecast.
“It could be you need to make some birdies out there, but then you need to be really patient out there, too,” Miyazato said. “But it doesn’t matter about the weather.”
Tseng, who had 67 on Saturday, successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA Tour victory. She led the tour last season with seven victories – including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open – and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.
Second-ranked Na Yeon Choi was a stroke back after her 67. Fellow South Koreans players held the next two spots with I.K. Kim at 11 under after 69, and Inbee Park 10-under after 69.
Defending champion Karr Webb (70) was 9-under along with third-ranked Suzann Pettersen (67), fourth-ranked Cristie Kerr (66), sixth-ranked Paula Creamer (70), U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu (69), Hee-Won Han (68) and Hee Kyung Seo (69).
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Newport Beach, Calif., Mark Calcavecchia shot his second consecutive 4-under-par 67 in rainy conditions Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic.
Calcavecchia, the 13-time PGA Tour winner who won the Boeing Classic last year for his lone victory on the 50-and-over tour, had six birdies and two bogeys on the Newport Beach Country Club course.
Fred Couples, the 2010 winner, was two strokes back along with Loren Roberts. Couples shot 69 in the round delayed about two hours because of the rain. Roberts had 70.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Marbella, Spain, Eduardo De la Riva, who competes on the Spanish regional tour, shot 4-under-par 68 for a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Andalucia Open.
He was at 12-under 204 going into the closing round on the Aloha course. A stroke behind were 18-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero (68) and England’s Simon Khan (66).
The Andalucia Open is only De la Riva’s ninth European Tour appearance in four years, with all but one contested in his homeland. He will earn a one-year European Tour exemption if he wins.
“I’ve come here to try and win and I won’t throw the towel in before the tournament finishes,” he said. “I will try to be as relaxed as I have been the other days.”
Manassero kept alive hopes of qualifying for next month’s Masters Tournament with a round that included five birdies.
Ranked 63rd, he needs to win or finish second today and in next week’s Hassan II Trophy in Morocco to qualify for Augusta as a top-50 player.
England’s Robert Rock is also trying to make the Masters via the top 50 route. Rock, who is 56th in the ranking, is tied for 12th after shooting 70 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, former Augusta State golfer Oliver Wilson dropped off the pace after 74. He’s tied for 39th.