Brooks Koepka improved his chances of taking over the title of No. 1 golfer in the world Saturday, shooting a bogey-free five-under-par 67 for a four-stroke lead after three rounds of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island, South Korea.
Koepka had a three-round total of 13-under 203. Ian Poulter, who shot 68 Saturday, was tied for second place at nine under with second-round leader Scott Piercy, who had a 72.
The 28-year-old Koepka, who trailed by one stroke after two rounds, will move to the top of the world rankings if he wins the tournament and former No. 1 Justin Thomas, the defending champion here, does not finish second.
Thomas shot a 71 Saturday and was tied for 43rd at one under, 12 strokes behind Koepka and nine shots out of second. It would be Koepka’s first appearance at No. 1.
Dustin Johnson is currently No. 1, Koepka is third and Thomas fourth. Johnson and No. 2 Justin Rose are not playing this week.
Koepka, the three-time major champion who was recently voted the Player of the Year on the PGA Tour, started with eight straight pars.
His round included back-to-back birdies on the ninth and 10th holes, and then a key par save from a difficult lie in the greenside bunker on the 11th— the only hole where he looked in any kind of trouble.
“It was good on the 11th, just to make sure I didn’t have any bogeys, that was kind of the big thing,” Koepka said. “I unfortunately three-putted the next [the par-five 12th]. Just got to work on my wedge game, which wasn’t very good today.”
Ciganda looking for first LPGA win since 2016
Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a five-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.
Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-four 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.
Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.
“I want to win because I didn’t win last year,” Ciganda said. “I love playing in Asia. It’s good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I’m quite comfortable.”