The World’s No.1 and 2, Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen, will go head to head in a final round battle for the World Ladies Championship on Sunday after they tied for the third round lead at Mission Hills in Haikou, China. The pair are at -18, four shots clear of their closest competitor, KLPGA Tour player Ye Na Chung.
Set-Up for the Sunday Shootout
Park fired a course record 11-under-par 62 in warm and breezy conditions on the signature Blackstone Course to join rival Pettersen at the top of the leader board on an 18-under-par total.
Park birdied three of the first six holes but really started firing in the middle of her round with six birdies in a row from the ninth. She picked up two more shots on 16 and the last for the best round of her career.
Park’s score in relation to par ties the all-time record low round for 18 holes on the Ladies European Tour, set by six other players. Her back nine score, of seven-under-par, also tied the LET record for nine holes.
It could have been even lower as she missed a short putt for eagle on hole 12 and two-putted from 20 feet for birdie on the long 18th.
It’s my career best round today so obviously it was a fantastic round. The last couple of days the putting has been really hard . . . but today everything seemed like it was going the right way and I made a lot of putts. That gives me 11-under.
Norway’s Pettersen, leader after each of the first two rounds, opened with a bogey but hit back with eight birdies, including one at the 18th, to end the day level with Park. Pettersen knows what she needs to do tomorrow.
I have my number in mind and I’m going to do everything in my power to get to that number. I’m not going to tell you what it is but I’m pretty sure it will be enough.
Trailing Park & Pettersen
Nine players are going into the final round at the World Ladies Championship sharing the top-10 slots on the board and within eight shots of Park and Pettersen’s lead. With two rising teenage stars, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Australia’s Minjee Lee, still in the mix, Sunday’s finish could hold more than one headline story.
In addition to South Korean Ye Na Chung, who is four strokes behind the leaders and holding a solo 3rd, Ariya Jutanugarn, at -13 and trailing Chung by one, is in solo 4th, with world ranked no. 5, South Korean So Yeon Ryu, one shot behind Jutanugarn in 5th place.
Three players are going into the final round at -11 and sharing sixth place, Yi Chen Liu of Taipei, In Gee Chun of South Korea, and Australian amateur Minjee Lee. Lee, who carded a 3rd round 68, is continuing to hold her own as she plays against the top-ranked golfers in the world.
Filling out the top-10 ranks on the leaderboard, Frenchwoman Joanna Klatten, American Amelia Lewis, and Englishwoman Trish Johnson are going into the final round at -10 and sharing the 9th spot on the board.
The Team Competition
In a small preview of competition at the LPGA International Crown in July, the Korean team of Park and Ryu now leads the team competition running concurrently by 16 strokes over the USA, with a three-round aggregate of 408.
From the original 18 teams, there are now seven left in the competition, shooting for a prize pool of US$100,000.
The 4th round of the World Ladies Championship will be streamed live by YouTube, 5:30-8:30am, GMT on Sunday, March 9. This link will get you there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhSUG1RAGwQ.