They say age is just a number. That cliché has never been truer than in the case of 49-year-old Juli Inkster. Consider the fact that Inkster, who shares the lead entering the final round with Ai Miyazato, won the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award in 1984. Then consider that Ai Miyazato was born a year later in 1985. Tomorrow, they share a two-shot advantage with 18 holes to play at the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions. Inkster, a member of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame, and Miyazato, winner of the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand last week, are locked at 7-under-par 209 after 54 holes of play at Tanah Merah Country Club.
With a victory tomorrow, Inkster would become the Tour’s oldest winner at 49 years, eight months and four days. Miyazato, meanwhile, is looking for her second victory in as many weeks. With 21 other players within five shots of the lead, the duo is not alone in the hunt for the $195,000 first-place check. Joining them in Sunday’s final group will be Momoko Ueda, who is in search of her second Tour win following the 2006 Mizuno Classic when she won as a member of the LPGA of Japan (JLPGA).
Miyazato carded three birdies, two bogies and an eagle on Saturday to shoot 3-under-par 69. She used a 30-foot eagle on the driveable par-4 16th hole to catapult into a share of the lead with Inkster. Inkster, playing in the second to last group of the day, also shot 69 with four birdies and a lone bogey at the fourth hole to card her third-consecutive under-par round in Singapore.
Inkster with a final-round lead. Juli Inkster won 13 of the 29 times she has led or co-led entering the final round. Her last lead entering the final round came at the 2007 Evian Masters where she shot 75 in the final round to tie for third. Her last victory coming off a Saturday night lead was the 2003 Evian Masters where she co-led with Rosie Jones and won by six following a final-round 65.
Oldest winners on LPGA Tour (Inkster is 49 years, 8 months and 4 days)
1. Beth Daniel, 2003 BMO Financial Group Canadian Women’s Open at 46 years, 8 months, 29 days
2. JoAnne Carner, 1985 SAFECO Classic at 46 years, 5 months, 11 days
3. Betsy King, 2001 LPGA Corning Classic at 45 years, 10 months, 18 days