Australian Karrie Webb struggled to an uncharacteristic round of 5 over par 77 to fall down the leaderboard after the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand 2013 being played at the Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course, Saturday.
Thailand hope, and runner-up in the recent Volvik RACV Ladies Masters, Ariya Jutanugarn, fired a 2-under 70 and will take a three-shot lead heading into the final round.
The 17-year-old sponsor invite sits at 11-under-par through three rounds with three players chasing behind her at eight-under-par, World Golf Hall of Fame member South Korean Se Ri Pak, Rolex World No. 3 Stacy Lewis and Spaniard Beatriz Recari. South Korean Inbee Park is outright fifth a further shot behind.
Jutanugarn had an up-and-down day, recording seven birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey however a hot back nine allowed her to pull away from the rest of the field. After recording the double bogey on the ninth hole, Jutanugarn caught fire as she made the turn. She recorded five straight birdies to start the back nine and took a two-shot advantage over the third-round leader, Lewis. The hot streak had the hometown crowd fired up with excitement as roars filled the golf course for the young Thai prodigy.
“I did feel a lot of pressure early on,” Jutanugarn said of playing in front of her home crowd. “I felt the whole Thai people hope was on my back. After a few holes people starting to cheers me up, and that made all the pressure gone away.”
Jutanugarn’s momentum slowed with a bogey on the 15th but she stretched her lead back to three shots on the very next hole when she birdied while Lewis dropped a shot. Jutanugarn wouldn’t make a single par on the back side as she stumbled with back-to-back bogeys to finish her round. Still, it was a strong enough performance on a day when the majority of the field struggled to score, allowing the 17-year-old a solid lead heading into the final round of an LPGA event.
“I should do better than a 2-under,” Jutanugarn said of her round. “But I am happy with my overall result.”
For Webb, who started the day at four-under-par and in the top 10, it was an disappointing round. It didn’t start well with the 38-year-old posting a bogey and double bogey on the front nine to go out in 39. Webb bogeyed the 14th before recording her first birdie of the day on the next hole. A disastrous triple bogey on the difficult par 4 17th saw her fall back to two over par total, before she showed her fighting qualities by hitting back with a birdie on 18th.
Webb will start the final round in a tie for 30th position. Katherine Hull-Kirk is the only other Australian playing this week. The Queenslander carded a third round of 75 to be at nine-over-par and outright 60th in the limited field event.
Hull-Kirk’s round didn’t start well with a bogey on the first, she then parred the next eight holes before posting consecutive birdies on the 10th and 11th holes. A double bogey on the 14th was followed by bogeys on the 15th and 17th holes.
Defending champion, Rolex World No. 1 Yani Tseng, sits at one-under-par and shares 24th position. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko retained her position in the top 20 at two-under-par and tied for 19th.