LONDON, Ontario (AP) - After dunking her ball in the water, Azahara Munoz later rebounded to shoot a 9-under 63 Saturday to vault into contention at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
She’s tied with Na Yeon Choi in second place, four strokes behind So Yeon Ryu, who leads at 20 under going into the final round.
“The key of my round was on (hole No.) 4, I was going for it in two with a 4-iron and I hit in the water,” Munoz said. “But I kept it calm, I knew I could still make up and down for par, so I did, and after that everything just went my way.”
Except, perhaps, for Ryu, who didn’t drift back to the pack by shooting a 67. She’s looking to become the sixth wire-to-wire winner in this tournament’s history and the first since Michelle Wie in 2010.
Munoz had six birdies on the back nine as part of a bogey-free round, tying the course record at London Hunt and Country Club that Ryu set Thursday. The 26-year-old Spainard felt as if she was doing “everything” right.
“I was driving the ball really well, and I was hitting really good iron shots into the greens,” Munoz said. “I had so many chances. And then I made lots of putts, too - I made a couple really long ones and quite a few shorter ones.”
As dazzling as Munoz’s round was, she still has some work to do to catch up to Ryu, who has been consistent through three rounds with 21 birdies and just one bogey.
Ryu is looking for her first victory since 2012.
“I haven’t won any tournaments the last two years,” the 24-year-old said. “If I’m going to win this tournament, I’m going to break that. I really want to break it, I really want to stop it.”
Ryu is on pace to snap the tournament record of 18 under set by Suzann Petterson in 2009 and is within range of the LPGA Tour record of 26 under, which belongs to Annika Sorenstam.
“I think my lowest record is 29 under when I was 16 at the Asian Games,” Ryu said. “If I have the chance I want to break my career record, and also if I can I want to break another LPGA record.”
Determined to focus on her own game, the South Korean said she didn’t look at the leaderboard Saturday. But Ryu already set a goal of making seven birdies in the final round.
Ryu, Munoz and Choi, who shot a 6-under 66, tee off as the final group at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
Behind them on the leaderboard are LPGA Championship winner Inbee Park at 14 under, Swede Anna Nordqvist at 13 under and Americans Brittany Lincicome and Danielle Kang at 12 under.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario, shot a 1-under 71 to get to 4 under as the lowest Canadian left.