Saturday's roundup: LPGA season title going to last day
Naples, Fla. — Behind just about every green at Tiburon Golf Club was a leaderboard with more information than Stacy Lewis could digest.
Julieta Granada was at the top, and she stayed there all of Saturday with a 2-under 70 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship. Lewis had more reason to be rattled by the name of Lydia Ko making a run and climbing to within three shots of the lead, boosting her chances of the $1 million bonus.
Only one thing was clear. Sunday was shaping up as a nail-biting end to the LPGA Tour season.
Granada had control of the tournament, but just barely. The 28-year-old from Paraguay rammed in a birdie putt across the 15th green, gave it back with a three-putt bogey on the next hole and finished at 9-under 207.
Granada had a one-shot lead over Morgan Pressel and Carlota Ciganda of Spain, who both made big putts on the 18th. Ciganda made an 8-foot par putt for a 71, while Pressel hit 7-iron to 5 feet for birdie and a 70. They will be in the final group, all thinking only of a $500,000 check for winning the Tour Championship.
The commotion was right behind them.
Sunday also concludes the Race to CME Globe, a points race with a winner-take-all bonus of $1 million, the biggest payoff in women's golf. Lewis still had the edge, but only slightly over Ko and So Yeon Ryu, with Michelle Wie very much in the running.
Good thing Lewis majored in finance and accounting at Arkansas.
"I don't know exactly how it all works, but there are people on the leaderboard I'm definitely cheering for over others," Lewis said, honest as ever. "I've been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe for three, four weeks now. Unfortunately, that's not going to go away overnight."
Lewis tightened her grip on the LPGA player of the year and effectively wrapped up the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average when Inbee Park (73) faltered. Lewis hit every fairway and missed only two greens in her round of 70. It was enough to move her into a tie for 10th, and while she remains six shots out of the lead, she still is atop the Race to CME Globe standings by a slim margin.
Ko wound up with a 68 with her birdie on the 18th. She was tied for fifth, three shots behind and tied with Ryu, who had her third straight 70. Ko would only have to win the Tour Championship to capture the $1 million bonus. Ryu and Wie would need some help.
All of it will be settled over 18 holes on Sunday, and there's even a chance for a playoff to decide who gets the winner-take-all bonus.
"I still have a chance — I'm not out of it," Wie said after her up-and-down day of even-par 72. "That's all I can ask for. I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow, and we'll see what happens. I'm just going to play as hard as I can and see what I can do."
Ko, the 17-year-old rookie, made the biggest move. She is No. 3 in the standings, meaning a victory Sunday would guarantee the $1 million bonus (along with $500,000 for winning the tournament). She took on more than she intended with a 6-iron that flirted with trouble left of the 18th green. Instead, it took a hop to the right and settled 3 feet away for a birdie.
"I come to the press room or get asked by the media, and that's when I go, 'Oh, there's is $1 million on the line.' When I'm out there, I'm trying to make as many birdies as I can," Ko said. "I think that's actually keeping me a little distracted."
Wie is No. 4 and Ryu is No. 5 in the standings, meaning they need to finish strong and have Ko and Lewis lose some ground to have any chance.
But it's all right there for any four of them on Sunday.
Granada was the first instant millionaire in LPGA history when she won a winner-take-all format at the ADT Championship eight years ago, her only LPGA victory. At stake is a chance for her to go wire-to-wire for another big prize.
Pressel has gone six years without a win, and that's all that matters to her. The Tour Championship is all she can win, and Pressel isn't even up to speed on anything else.
"Someone is going to win $1 million, and it's not going to be me," Pressel said. "But there's other things I can win."
Defending champion Henrik Stenson and Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello opened a three-shot lead after the third round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Stenson posted four birdies in a 4-under 68 to join Cabrera-Bello, who birdied four of his closing five holes in a 7-under 65. Both players have an overall 14-under 202 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
England's Justin Rose shot a 68 for third place, one shot clear of top-ranked Rory McIlroy (70), Victor Dubuisson (67), Tyrrell Hatton (68) and Thorbjorn Olesen (69).
McIlroy had back-to-back double bogeys at the 12th and 13th holes.
Adam Scott moved in the right direction at Melbourne in the Australian Masters, shooting a 1-under 71 to pull to within four strokes of the lead as he attempts to win the tournament for the third consecutive year.
Scott got some help from gusty winds that affected the last few groups. He trailed by six when he finished, but an hour later, Paul Spargo, playing in the final group, was the leader after a 71 and a 54-hole total of 8-under 208.
That was one stroke better than second-round leader Michael Wright, who bogeyed four holes on the back nine for a 74 and after he and fellow Australian Spargo were told they were on the clock for slow play.
Geoff Ogilvy shot 71 and was in a group three shots behind.
Suzy Whaley has been elected the first female officer in PGA of America history Saturday, a move that virtually assures her of becoming the association's first female president in 2018.
The milestone moment came at the end of the PGA's annual meeting in Indianapolis. Whaley received 52.63 percent of the vote, Russ Libby got 33.33 percent and Michael Haywood 14.04 percent in the secretary's race.
In 2016, Whaley will become vice president, then serve a two-year term as president and two more years as honorary president. Each step requires a formal vote, usually a technicality.
Derek Sprague will take over as president and Paul Levy as vice president. Allen Wronowski received a two-year extension as honorary president to fill the void left by ousted president Ted Bishop.
Swing help for Woods
Tiger Woods is getting some help for his swing as he prepares to return to competition.
Woods announced Saturday on Twitter that Dallas-based Chris Como will be working and consulting with him on his swing. Woods did not identify Como as his fourth swing coach as a pro.
Woods said three months ago he had fired Sean Foley.
He has played sparingly this year because of health issues. Woods missed three months recovering from back surgery, and he has not played since the PGA Championship as he tries to get stronger.
Woods says he met Como through good friend Notah Begay. Como works at Gleneagles Country Club outside Dallas. Golf Digest magazine listed him among its best young teachers in 2013.