Three international players will head into tomorrow's final round of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open at The Grange GC tomorrow tied for the lead, but the focus will be very much on World No. 1 Lydia Ko and five-time winner Karrie Webb who are both poised just a shot back.
American Danielle Kang,South Korea's Jenny Shin, and Japan's Haru Nomura are the joint leaders at nine-under par through three rounds, while Ko and Webb are tied for 4th place lurking just a shot behind at 8 under par.
Kang, who hails from San Fransisco was understandably delighted with her position heading into the final round "Today everything felt really solid and I’ve been playing pretty good this week. I’ve been hitting every green or making really good up-and-downs. My brother (caddie Alex) keeps saying “Be Patient. Be Patient. You can’t get too ahead of yourself." Having him on my bag really helps me"
Kang shot a five under par 67 today, the equal best round of the day and will be trying to improve on her best LPGA finish so far of 5th place at the Puresilk Bahamas Classic in 2015. The 23 year old has other motives apart from lifting the Patricia Bridges Bowl tomorrow "I’m not in the HSBC Tournament and I’m currently the first alternate for Thailand. I keep telling everyone that I have to win to get into Singapore so I’ve been counting down how many tournaments that I have left until Singapore. I love that event so I would love to get there and I love Thailand so we will see"
Haru Nomura has had a great start already to 2016 with an 8th place finish at the Coates Championship in Florida 2 weeks ago and a career tying best finish of 4th at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January. The 23 year old from Japan, who lists watching TV as her favorite hobby is in career best form and should not be underestimated, she is a classy player who is very capable of winning.
Twenty three year old South Korean Shin, obviously feels comfortable playing in Australia as she finished tied for 4th place her last year at Royal Melbourne which is to date her best LPGA finish. Shin was happy to find herself tied for the lead, especially considering she had not played her best so far this week "Yeah, it’s funny you know I’m not even nearly getting to my A game but I'm on the leaderboard. But I feel very happy that I’m giving myself opportunities, that I have a chance to win tomorrow and we’ll see what happens. I think a lot of it has to do with my attitude. My attitude changed quite a bit throughout the years on tour. I feel like I’m a little bit more calm. I have better control of myself and I can handle situations a little bit better than before"
While Shin has won on the Symetra Tour, like Nomura and Kang she is yet to taste victory on the LPGA Tour. The three leaders will need to keep an eye firmly in their rear view mirror tomorrow with world number 1 Ko and 5 time Champion Webb just a shot behind the trio.
Ko was off to the perfect start this afternoon making birdies at each of the first four holes, however a disappointing bogey 6 at the long par 5 5th hole halted the momentum. Ko hung tough through the middle of the round and was satisfied with her finish in the tricky afternoon conditions "I finished well with a birdie on the 17th and a good two-putt on the 18th but it was tough out there. I mean, it wasn't as breezy as yesterday but with the contours of the greens and the firmness and everything, it's tough. I'm pretty pleased with my round today. It's the best round I've had in the last few days so I'll take it for sure."
When asked if she would have a target in mind that would be needed to win tomorrow, the affable 18 year old replied "I have no clue. I think the weather can play a huge factor around here. If it's as breezy as yesterday afternoon the scores aren't going to be incredibly low. If it's a little calmer like today, there might be some low ones or a low one like SooBin Kim shot. I think Karrie Webb (in 2014) was an example of winning the Australian Open a few years ago, I think that's a good example, you can be a few shots behind and it doesn't put you out of it. It depends on what the leader does, and so on, but there are birdies out there ... Some holes you're happy coming off with pars and some holes you're coming off with birdies"
Webb who will be bidding for her 6th ISPS Women's Australian Open title feels that she has a genuine chance to win tomorrow. "Today my ball striking was the best it has been in a long time. Apart from the putt on the last (where she bombed a six-metre par-saving putt) I didnt make anything. I had a lot of control of shape and distance so it felt really good out there. I did make a couple of par saves at 5 and 6 but the rest was very solid"
Asked if she would feel nervous heading into the final round tomorrow Webb was quick to answer "For sure. If I wasn’t nervous about having a chance to win a golf tournament, let alone the Australian Open, then I probably shouldn’t be sitting in this chair, so no it’s like an excited nervous I guess. It’s been quite a while since I gave myself a chance to win on Sunday and a legitimate chance, so you know I’m looking forward to the opportunity."
Shin and Kang will play in the final group tomorrow at 1:00pm ; Nomura and Ko will be in the second-last group at 12:50pm while Webb will play in the third-last group with Paula Reto of South Africa at 12:40pm
For round 3 scores go to http://alpg.com.au/tournament.php?id=4471&pid=1150&sec=lb
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