NAPLES (Florida) • Kim Kaufman fired a third-round eight-under 64 to join Michelle Wie, Ariya Jutanugarn and Suzann Pettersen in a four-way tie at the top for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Florida on Saturday.
Wie shot a 66, Ariya a 67 and Pettersen a 69 as all four players reached 10-under 206 heading into the final round at Tiburon Golf Club, while a group of seven, including overnight leader Park Sung Hyun (75) were a shot behind.
Kaufman, who is seeking her first Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) victory, carded eight birdies in a performance that was even more surprising given that she has been unable to practise much. The 26-year-old told LPGA.com she had been resting at home for two weeks after a bout of energy-sapping mononucleosis and that the cold weather in South Dakota had made practice difficult.
Wie, who is seeking her first win since 2014, has not had the easiest of weeks. After six weeks off to recover from an emergency appendectomy, she played five consecutive events in Asia, leaving her short on energy.
"Last week, I was like laying down on the golf course," said Wie.
"Basically, I'm just a hermit crab this week. I'm just sleeping as much as I can; just really trying to keep my energy levels up."
South Korean rookie Park, who had a three-stroke lead heading into Saturday's round, blamed errant driving for her troubles.
"Over the course of four days, there is always a day when you are not in top shape and that was today," she said.
A lot will be at stake for the South Korean. Win this morning (Singapore time), and the Rookie of the Year will also become Player of the Year and the money leader, who earns the US$1 million (S$1.35 million) bonus.
She will likely also return to the top of the world rankings.