Angela Stanford increased her lead to four strokes over Michelle Wie and Hyo Joo Kim of South Korea heading into the final round of the LPGA Lotte Championship by shooting 5-under-par 67 at windswept Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii.
Stanford, who is bidding for her sixth LPGA Tour victory but the first since the 2012 HSBC Women’s Champions, reeled off three consecutive birdies through No. 13 after making her only bogey on the 10th hole.
“I didn’t think the wind was blowing as hard when we started, so it was kind of nice to get out there and get a little bit of a rhythm,” said Stanford, who has needed only 80 putts through three rounds to rank third in the field.
“It really picked up on the back. So it got tough toward the end, just because it was windy and it started to become a really long round. But for the most part, my putter was great again, so that was a lot of it.”
Wie, the Stanford graduate trying to win before the home fans in Hawaii, birdied three of the first seven holes but could not keep up the pace and finished with a 70.
Kim, a 19-year-old who is playing in the tournament on a sponsors exemption, was within three shots of the lead before making her second bogey of the day at No. 18 to wind up with a 69.
Cristie Kerr, seeking her 17th LPGA Tour victory but the first this season, was five shots back in solo fourth after a 70.
Top-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea had a 72 that was marred by a double-bogey 6 on the 13th hole and was seven strokes behind in a tie for fifth that included Amy Anderson, who had a 69, and So Yeon Ryu, also of South Korea, who came in at 72.