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Choi Ties Course Record & Rises to First in Australia


Chella Choi rose up the leaderboard in a big way Saturday at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. The 23-year-old South Korean fired a course-record-tying, 10-under-par 62 at Victoria Golf Club in Australia to tie for the lead after 54 holes.

After posting two birdies and an eagle on the front nine, Choi really got warmed up on the back, finishing with a bogey, five birdies and an eagle (at the par-5 18th) on her last seven holes.

She stands at 13-under 203, the same total as 17-year-old amateur, Minjee Lee of Australia, who has recorded rounds of 68, 67 and 68.

"I try to enjoy playing and just focus on one shot and one shot and just keep putting," Choi explained of her round, which matched Lydia Ko's tournament mark set in 2013. "I think if I just always hit the green, I have a lot of birdie chances. So I focused on just my shot, before the shot and then shot."

Lee doesn't feel much pressure despite her amateur status and having to go head to head with the best women players in the world. "I just play. I think it kind of lightens up a little bit because I'm smiling all the time. I have a good chat with my caddie. I think the game plan is always the same. It's been working so far, so why change it?"

The 16-year-old Ko, who turned pro at the start of the year after an illustrious amateur career that included two LPGA Tour victories, carded a 69 and is in third place at 205, two strokes behind. No. 2-ranked Suzann Pettersen carded a 2 to reach 206 and fourth.

Eight players share fifth at 207. The group includes Americans Amelia Lewis and Morgan Pressel, along with 36-hole leader Caroline Hedwall. After rounds of 68 and 65, the 24-year-old Swede struggled to a 2-over 74 Saturday.

All told, there are 12 players within four strokes of the lead heading into Sunday's final round.

For all the scores, visit http://www.golf.org.au/default.aspx?s=livescoreswao_new&tid=104597.