Kim holds onto Tour Championship lead
MIAMI, Florida: Kim Sei-young remained on course for the richest payday in women’s golf on Saturday, firing a four-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the LPGA Tour Championship in Florida.
The 26-year-old from Seoul, who also led through the opening two rounds, delivered a bogey-free 18 holes at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples to finish the third round on 16 under, one clear of Nelly Korda, who carded a six-under-par 66.
Kim, who had started the day two clear of the field, looked to be building a commanding lead after pocketing three birdies in the opening seven holes. However, she was only able to convert one of several further birdie chances throughout the remainder of the round, meaning there is still all to play for on the final day, where a crowded field will be chasing the $1.5 million winner’s cheque, the richest prize on the LPGA Tour.
“Front nine I play quite solid,” Kim said. “I had three birdies. And then back nine it was kind of boring. I had a lot of chance but I couldn’t make them. But I have a pretty solid round today.”
Korda meanwhile thrust herself into the reckoning after bouncing back from a nightmare double-bogey sixth on the third hole, which dropped her to seven under for the tournament. The 21-year-old Floridian put that early wobble behind her to pick up three quick birdies before the turn to advance to 10 under.
A hat-trick of birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes put her right back in the mix before two more on the 14th and 17th holes left her lurking on Kim’s shoulder at 15 under. “I tried to tell myself to be more aggressive starting on the back nine,” Korda said.
“I was rolling it really well and I was definitely a bit more aggressive.” Germany’s Caroline Masson is in third place on 12 under heading into the final round after a two-under-par 70.
England’s Charley Hull was another big mover on Saturday with a six-under-par 66 that left her five off the lead on 11 under. World number one Ko Jin-young, who had an inconsistent opening two days, finally got into her groove with a six-under-par 66 to join a four-way tie for fifth place on 10 under alongside Jessica Korda, Su Oh, and Canada’s Brooke Henderson. Seven players are a further shot back on nine under, including Lexi Thompson and England’s Bronte Law.