If there’s anywhere outside of a major that Katherine Kirk would love to win most, it’s probably here. Here is home. Here is her national championship, the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, the one she grew up as a kid dreaming she’d one day hoist the trophy at.
After she left the 10th hole with a frustrating bogey on a reachable par-5, that dream it appeared would have to wait another year for a chance to be realized. After all walking away with a birdie there almost feels like losing two shots and Kirk was 1-over, seven shots back of the lead. But Kirk’s day wasn’t done and that bogey seemed to serve as ignition to some of the best stretch of golf we’ve seen from anyone in the field all week. Kirk rallied from the bogey to reel off birdies on five of the next six holes, including a stretch of four straight from Nos. 13 through 16.
And on Royal Melbourne, a course that seems like a test befitting of a major championship, birdies come few and far between.
“I’m very happy with it. It’s not easy to make birdies out there and I made six today and I’m still kind of a little puzzled as to how. I know I made two long putts, so they’re just bonuses,” Kirk said. “I think that was probably as good as it was going to get today.”
Kirk’s games been as scorching as her back-nine putting of late. A week ago at the Ladies Masters she’s finished in second and is just three back of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
“Su Oh definitely deserved to win last week, she played really well and I just didn’t make enough birdies. That’s just kind of how it goes. But I was happy with how I struck the ball on Sunday and I felt like I brought that confidence into this week,” Kirk said. “When you’re playing a golf course as difficult as this, you kind of don’t really have any expectations, other than you’ve just got to keep your head down and fight until the last hole. Tomorrow I won’t probably think too much about it other than playing one shot at a time. I know that’s really clique but around here, you have to stay totally in the moment because every shot is demanding.”