Lizette Salas had a very good Saturday at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC. With rounds of 67, 68, and 65, Salas has stayed on the front page of the leaderboard at the Kingsmill, and today her bogey-free round took her to the top. Ranked 16th by Rolex but still hunting her first Tour Victory, Salas started the third round trailing Hee Young Park’s lead by a single stroke, then pulled even with Park with a birdie on the par-5 3rd hole. The pair played shot-for-shot and birdie-for-birdie through 11, with their playing partner Stacy Lewis chaperoning their contest as she trailed by two and then three strokes. Then Park dropped a shot on 12 and Salas had the top of the leaderboard to herself. She stretched her lead out to 2 strokes with a birdie on 15 and then to 3 strokes with another birdie on 17 and will go into Sunday 13 strokes under par and three strokes ahead of Park, her closest competitor. Salas faced a similar situation at the Kia Classic in March and lost in a heartbreaking Sunday round to Anna Nordqvist. Can she close the deal tomorrow?
The Battle for #1
Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko both say they’re not thinking about the Rolex Rankings. The rest of us are thinking about the rankings for them. A win would put either of them at the top of the rankings and end Inbee Park’s 57-week reign as the world’s top woman golfer. They ended today’s round at -8, in a tie for 3rd, trailing Salas by 5 strokes. That’s a big deficit to overcome in a single round, but they’re both skilled putters and shrewd course managers. Sunday promises excitement.
Pat Hurst, Juli Inkster’s assistant captain for the 2015 Solheim Cup, had a relatively unremarkable day until the par-3 17th hole, where she hit her tee shot pure, landed it on the front of the green, and watched it bounce lightly and then roll straight and true into the cup. Charley Hull, who was playing with Hurst, was as delighted as Hurst. There were grins and high fives all around, and CME Group put another $1000 in the Wounded Warriors Project coffers.
Katherine Kirk, who’s been hovering just below the top of the board, found herself in an impossibly deep greenside bunker on 18 this afternoon, so deep she couldn’t see the flagstick. She didn’t have a lot of green to work with and her prospects for saving her par and staying within reach of the top of the board for Sunday’s round were dim.
The big six-footer dug in and took her shot, which arched up out the sand and over the lip, landed softly, and rolled gently into the cup. It was the kind of sandy birdie that makes for sweet dreams! Kirk will start Sunday sharing the 3rd slot on the board with Lewis and Ko and trailing Salas by five strokes.
Sunday at Kingsmill
Sunday is going to bring perfect golf weather at Kingsmill, sunny and light winds, although a bit chilly for the early starters. The temperature will climb from the mid-50s to the 70s and the humidity will stay low, so we can expect balls to fly straight and true and the scores to go low.
Play begins at 8:45 am. The last group, Lizette Salas and Hee Young Park, will tee off at 2:40pm, and Golf Channel will begin coverage of the final round at 5pm Eastern Time.