NAPLES, Florida (AP) ― Julieta Granada stayed in front of a growing pack of challengers Saturday with a 2-under 70 and a one-shot lead in the CME Globe Tour Championship, only one part of what was shaping up as a tense conclusion to the LPGA Tour season.
Stacy Lewis had more reason to be rattled by the name of Lydia Ko making a run and climbing to within three shots of the lead, boosting her chances of the $1 million bonus.
Only one thing was clear. Sunday was shaping up as a nail-biting end to the LPGA Tour season.
Michelle Wie expresses frustration on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)
Granada had control of the tournament, but just barely. The 28-year-old from Paraguay rammed in a birdie putt across the 15th green, gave it back with a three-putt bogey on the next hole and finished at 9-under 207.
Granada had a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel and Carlota Ciganda of Spain, who both made big putts on the 18th. Ciganda made an 8-foot par putt for a 71, while Pressel hit 7-iron to 5 feet for birdie and a 70. They will be in the final group, all thinking only of a $500,000 check for winning the Tour Championship.
Sunday also concludes the Race to CME Globe, a points race with a winner-take-all bonus of $1 million, the biggest payoff in women’s golf. Lewis still had the edge, but only slightly over Ko and Ryu So-yeon, with Michelle Wie very much in the running.
“I don’t know exactly how it all works, but there are people on the leaderboard I’m definitely cheering for over others,” Lewis said, honest as ever. “I’ve been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe for three, four weeks now. Unfortunately, that’s not going to go away overnight.”
Cullen wins Aussie Masters
MELBOURNE (AP) ― Australian lefthander Nick Cullen shot a 3-under 69 Sunday to win the Australian Masters by one stroke over Adam Scott, ending Scott’s attempt for a third consecutive victory in the tournament.
Cullen, who had a four-round total of 9-under 279, saved par on the 18th after hitting his bunker shot to a foot.
Scott, who trailed by four strokes after three rounds, shot 68 Sunday and finished tied for second with two other Australians. Scott’s 60-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole curled out and he held the clubhouse lead for about an hour until Cullen finished his round at Metropolitan Golf Club.
Stenson, Cabrera-Bello lead in Dubai
DUBAI (AP) ― Defending champion Henrik Stenson and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello opened up a three-shot lead after the third round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Saturday.
Stenson posted four birdies in a 4-under 68 to join Cabrera-Bello who birdied four of his closing five holes in a 7-under 65. Both players have an overall 14-under 202 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.