Despite Suzann Pettersen’s Friday charge up the leaderboard and despite rookie Mirim Lee’s Saturday move closer to the top of the board today with a pair of birdies on the par-4s, 15 and 17, at the end of the day Inbee Park was still alone at the top of the board at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Park’s going into Sunday 13 strokes under par, one stroke ahead of Mirim Lee and two ahead of Pettersen. How does the former world number 1 feel going into Sunday with such a slim lead over Lee and Pettersen? She’d like to have another two strokes but one is better than none!
A Tale of Three Rookies
Three rookies are going into Sunday at the Meijer LPGA Classic inside the top-10 on the leaderboard.
Mirim Lee has spent five years playing her way to the 2nd spot on the Meijer Classic leaderboard and going into the final round challenging Inbee Park, one of the world’s finest golfers. Lee turned pro in 2009 and played a year on the KLPGA developmental tour. She joined the KLPGA in 2010 and finished the 2011 season 13th on the tour’s money list. In 2012 she earned her 2nd KLPGA victory and was 7th on the tour’s money list. Last year she earned her 3rd KLPGA victory and qualified for the LPGA Tour 2014 season.
World ranked 71st, Lee’s entered 13 events this year, made 9 cuts, and finished T2 at the JTBC Founders Cup in March. Lee’s missed the cut in two of her last four events and finished T15 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic and T12 at the Marathon Classic.
Lee’s playing with Inbee Park in the final group on Sunday.
Line Vedel’s also been playing solid golf at the Meijer LPGA Classic. With three rounds of 68, 69 & 68, Vedel’s going into Sunday at 8-under par, holding steady in solo 4th place and trailing Inbee Park’s lead by five strokes.
World ranked 98th, Vedel turned pro in 2011, played three years on the Ladies European Tour, and has been having a fine rookie year on the Tour. She’s recorded one top-10 finish, T4 at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, and she’s made the cut in 10 of the 13 events she’s entered. Her Swinging Skirts performance was a breakthrough for her.
. . . when I finished fourth in San Fran, that was kind of like the boost and like okay, I can compete with the best. And then from there on I kind of just had to just relax and trust my own game . . .
Vedel is paired with Suzann Pettersen on Sunday and they’ll be playing in the next-to-the last group.
Guilia Molinaro, who’s world ranked 362nd, is also going into Sunday in a very advantageous position. With rounds of 71, 67, and 69, Molinaro’s going into Sunday at seven-under par and a share of 7th place on the board.
An Italian national who grew up in Kenya, Molinaro golfed as a junior on the Italian National Team and played her collegiate golf at Arizona State. She turned pro in 2012 and recorded her first victory at the Symetra Tour Friends of Mission Charity Classic in 2013 as well as four additional top-10 finishes.
She’s entered 13 events this year and made six cuts, but this is Molinaro’s first shot at a top-10 finish in an LPGA event. She’s paired with Paula Creamer on Sunday.
What Will Sunday Bring?
Inbee Park’s on the hunt for a 2nd win. Suzann Pettersen, fighting her way back from a back injury, is on the hunt for her first 2014 win. They both need to watch their backs. Mirim Lee is playing even with Park and Vedel feels like her game’s as good as Pettersen’s.
Beatriz Recari and Haru Nomura, both starting Sunday at seven-under par, could come zooming up the leaderboard with a string of birdies and they’re both capable of putting that kind of streak together.
Austin Ernst recorded a pair of eagles on moving day, on the par-5 8th and the par-4 17th, and Cristie Kerr carded a seven-under 64, trying the Blythefield Country Club course record set by Rickie Fowler, Suzann Pettersen, and Mirim Lee. Those seven strokes tell their own tale. Inbee Park’s lead isn’t secure and the tournament’s not over yet.
The Sunday round at the Meijer LPGA Classic begins at 9:45am local time. The final group, Inbee Park and Mirim Lee, tees off at 3pm. Golf Channel begins coverage of the round in progress at 5pm ET.
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