Golf: Michelle Wie guns for first win in three years, leads HSBC Women's Champions by two

Michelle Wie tees off at the sixth hole during the Third round of the HSBC Women's Champions held at Sentosa Golf Club's new Tanjong Course on March 4, 2017.
Michelle Wie tees off at the sixth hole during the Third round of the HSBC Women's Champions held at Sentosa Golf Club's new Tanjong Course on March 4, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Just 18 holes separates Michelle Wie from ending a winless streak that stretches back to 2014 after the American star took command of the HSBC Women's Champions on Saturday (March 4).

The 27-year-old fired a five-under 67 and is on 14-under 202 at the Sentosa Golf Club. She leads the trio of Lydia Ko (67), Park Sung Hyun (68) and Ariya Jutanugarn (69), all on 204, by two strokes at the US$1.5 million (S$2.11 million) tournament.

Wie, once a child prodigy, has won four LPGA Tour titles but her last was the 2014 US Women's Open. The world No. 179 has struggled since then and from the start of 2015, she has played 51 events, missed the cut on 20 occasions and recorded a solitary top-10 finish in last October's Blue Bay LPGA.

She was understandably pumped at her performance at the New Tanjong Course. She said: "It's fun being in contention. I'm going to go out with the same mind-set that I had today and just go out and play as hard as I can.

"As much as I watch the leaderboard or watch anyone else, there's so many things I can't control out there tomorrow."

A birdie on the 376 yard, par-four 18th was the perfect way to finish for world No. 1 Lydia Ko as she seeks her 15th Tour win before her 20th birthday next month.

The New Zealander said: "It's great with some of the biggest names out there. Michelle is leading and Ariya is just consistently playing well. I think it's going to be a very exciting finish for the leaders coming in and a very exciting Sunday."

Defending champion Jang Ha Na shot 68 and was on 11-under 205 alongside 2015 winner Park In Bee and within touching distance of the summit. Jang, the world No. 6 from South Korea is bidding to become the first two-time winner of the HSBC event, which is into its 10th edition.

She said: "I think it's a really good position and I think better than [being in the lead]. There's not really pressure [on me], just play. My target is 15-under par tomorrow, so should be great."

Singapore's Amanda Tan shot 79 and was 12-over 228 and last in the 63-women field.