Chella Choi shot her second-consecutive 6-under 66 on Saturday to push her to 17-under par and takes a one-shot lead at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist broke the tournament and course record with an 11-under 61 and is in a tie for second with Jessica Korda at 16-under par. LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Karrie Webb sits in solo fourth at 15-under par and trails the lead by two.
Choi marks the fourth different leader this week in Mobile and holds the lead heading into the final round for the first time in her career. After her seven birdie, one bogey performance on Saturday, Choi said her confidence is at an all-time high and for the first time in her career has had no problem looking at the leaderboard to size up competing scores.
“I never before this week because if I see leaderboard, a little bit nervous or like I don't have confidence,” said Choi. “So like this week I started just to look at the leaderboard, just first round Thursday, starting Thursday, every hole watching leading score, so I think much better, mentally better than before.”
The South Korean hit every fairway on Saturday and missed only two greens in regulation. Her only dropped shot of the day came on the par 4 9th hole when she hit her tee shot into a divot in the middle of the fairway which set up her for a difficult approach. She failed to convert on the up and down but said it had no effect on her rhythm.
“Yeah, but I make four more birdies on back nine, so it was okay,” said Choi. “That course is every hole, tee shot in fairway, every hole birdie chance because I know my shots,” said Choi. “So I think just confidence and focus on just teeing ground, it's no problem.”
Nordqvist stole the show on Saturday with her record-breaking performance and was the second player this week to rewrite the record books. Sydnee Michaels posted a 10-under 62 in Friday’s second round, but Nordqvist one-upped her on a day that included 10 birdies, an eagle and one bogey. She put together a run on the front nine that included five-consecutive birdies on Nos. 3 through 7. No surprise the Swede said she couldn’t stop smiling throughout the round.
“Today was a lot of fun,” said Nordqvist. “I started out with a couple birdies, hit a lot of good shots, and I think I missed one green. And then I made that bunker shot and it was just like, I couldn't stop smiling, couldn't stop laughing.”
The two-time LPGA Tour winner and major champ, whose last win came back in 2009 at the LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex, said it felt good to have all parts of her game finally click.
“But it's one of those days where you feel like all your hard work and your patience is paying off,” said Nordqvist. “You look back in the day you see yourself with a lot of confidence and know you can do it and believe in yourself.”
The round marked a career-best for Nordqvist by a four-stroke margin and was also the lowest round on the LPGA Tour this season.
Jessica Korda kept herself in contention despite an up-and-down day on Saturday. The 20-year old had five birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and a double bogey to close out at 3-under 69. She’s playing for her second-career win, but doesn’t necessarily have it on the front of her mind.
“I mean, I'm not really thinking about that right now,” said Korda. “It's more of just, you know, having fun out there and putting shots away like I know I can. If you have a round like today, you're going to have a couple bad holes here and there, but it's going to happen to everybody. I haven't had a bogey in 36 holes, so I think I've been pretty fortunate on that aspect.”
Topics: Mobile Bay LPGA Classic