INCHEON (AFP) - Two lesser-known South Korean golfers shared the third-round lead, as world No. 2 Park In Bee trailed by one stroke at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship on Saturday.
Baek Kyu Jung and Bae Hee Kyung, members of the Korean LPGA Tour, each carded a four-under 68 to move to five-under 211 for the US$2 million (US$2.55 million) tournament on the par-72, 6,364-yard Ocean Course at the Sky72 Golf and Resort club in Incheon.
Park also fired a 68 on Saturday and is one of 10 golfers within a shot of the leaders. She could overtake the absent Stacy Lewis as the world No. 1 with a win on Sunday.
She said she went back to her old putter that helped her win three consecutive Majors last year, and the change paid quick dividends.
"I putted really horribly yesterday and I really wanted to have some kind of a change," she said. "And today, I changed the putter to the old putter and it was working a little bit better than yesterday obviously. I was just struggling with the putter, so couldn't think of anything else."
This is the only LPGA tournament held in South Korea each year. There have been seven South Korean champions in its 12-year history.
Joining Park at four-under was Suzann Pettersen, who won the tournament in 2012. Karine Icher, the second-round leader, remained in the hunt for her first LPGA title at four-under.
Baek, who has three victories on the KLPGA Tour this year as a rookie, collected six birdies against two bogeys, while Bae had five birdies against one bogey.
Baek, who needed only 25 putts on Saturday, said her short stick had been the key so far.
"I think my putting was strong today and my shot was relatively weaker compared to my putting," she said. "But I think I was able to manage my game because I saved a lot of pars. And so ultimately, I was able to get a low score."
Baek will receive LPGA playing privileges for next season with a win, but leaving home isn't on her mind just yet.
"I was focused on staying in Korea next year, to learn and build experience, and I was planning to go to Q-School next year," she said. "I don't want to get ahead of myself. I will think about that if I win this tournament."