Tseng takes lead in LPGA Thailand

Toop-ranked Yani Tseng closed in on her third tournament victory

in three weeks when she grabbed a one-shot lead in the LPGA

Thailand in the third round on Saturday.

A four-foot eagle putt on her finishing hole on the Pattaya Old

Course at Siam Country Club carded the Taiwanese star a 2-under 70

and lifted her to a 9-under 207 total, one better than Michelle Wie

(71) and second-round leader IK Kim (72).

”It was very exciting finishing eagle, that’s for sure,” Tseng

said. ”Nice to have a one-shot lead over IK and Michelle.”

Tseng double-bogeyed the second hole but made up a shot by the

turn. Three birdies spanning holes 10-15 put her in front by two,

but they were offset by consecutive bogeys on 16-17, and the

closing eagle saved her round.

”It was better for me today,” she said. ”A tough start but I

had a good comeback and I stayed really patient. I don’t put too

much tension on myself. I wanted to stay relaxed. Don’t be afraid

if I miss a shot. If I bogey a hole, I’ll birdie the next hole.

Keep smiling and relax.”

Tseng became the world No. 1 when she won the Australian Open by

seven strokes then the Australian Ladies Masters by four last

weekend.

”It would be great (to win three in a row),” she said. ”Right

now, I’m prepared and not afraid when I’m on top. I know how to win

a tournament. I’m going to go enjoy the tournament like

today.”

Wie compensated for four bogeys with five birdies, finishing

better than she started.

”On the front nine I putted horribly, couldn’t make a single

thing, but on the back nine I put myself together,” Wie said.

”Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll learn from my mistakes.”

Kim’s round was much like Wie’s. Her one-shot lead to begin the

day evaporated in the humidity by the fifth hole with her third

straight bogey, but she closed with birdies on three of her last

four holes to remain in contention.

”I just had a really rough start, like yesterday,” Kim said.

”I had the same mindset through all 18, very relaxed. I didn’t

really do that very well on the front nine. I tried to play smart

on the back, dropped some putts with a lot of break. I feel much

better on the back nine.”

American Paula Creamer (70) was alone in fourth at 7 under and

Kerrie Webb (68) was fifth at 6 under.

MJ Hur (68) of South Korea followed at 5 under, then a group of

four at 4 under included former world No. 1 Juli Inkster (73).

Defending champion Ai Miyazato (73) was at 1 over, 10 shots

behind.