VENICE, Fla., Sept. 30, 2010 - Three players share the lead after today's third round of the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Florida.
Teens Kimberly Kim (71) of Hilo, Hawaii and Plai ("Pie") Kongkraphan (70) of Thailand, along with Duramed FUTURES Tour player Lucy Nunn (69) of Lawton, Okla., moved into the lead today on the Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club.
The leaders hold a one-shot advantage over second-round leaders Lee-Anne Pace (75) of Mosselbay, South Africa, and amateur Thidapa ("Jasmine") Suwannapura (75) of Bangkok, Thailand, tied at 3-under 213.
"Today was one of those rounds that could have been way better than it was, or way worse," said Kim, 19, who carded three birdies and two bogeys in her round. "My putting wasn't as good as it was yesterday."
Winner of the 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at age 14, Kim struggled for momentum today as the wind picked up and frequently swirled in different directions. She had two three-putt greens for bogey, but she also had two chip-in birdies, holing chips from 20 yards on both hole Nos. 4 and 12.
"I just need to play steady and finish strong on Friday," added Kim, who carries a word puzzle book for use during on-course delays.
As an Oklahoma native, Nunn finished her round in the wind with a smile on her face and a scorecard bearing four birdies and one bogey. She was one of only three players to shoot in the 60s today.
"This is just like home," said Nunn, 23, a former University of Arkansas collegian who hit 14 greens in regulation and needed 29 putts in today's third round. "The wind doesn't bother me at all."
Kongkraphan, 18, carded seven birdies today, but said she made "stupid mistakes" in her round, including a double-bogey on No. 10 when she ran into trouble in the right trees. Like many players in this week's field, the Thai player said she was "too nervous" in the recent California sectional tournament and is happy to have a second chance in this week's sectional.
Both Pace and Suwannapura lost some momentum today, each finishing the day at three over. The South African, who has won three times this season on the Ladies European Tour, carded her only birdie from 12 feet on the ninth hole.
"I felt like I was just slapping at it today, and I left a couple of in-the-hole putts short," said Pace, 29, currently No. 2 on the LET's 2010 money list. "I'll chase it tomorrow."
Former LPGA Tour member Mollie Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio, carded a 2-over 74 to drop into sixth place at 214 (-2), while five players, including two-time European Solheim Cup player Becky Brewerton (73) of Kinmel Bay, Wales, are tied for seventh at one-under 215.
Eleven players are under par after the third round in the 72-hole qualifier for the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December.
This week's event has been staged on both the Panther and Bobcat courses at Plantation Golf & Country Club, host of the LPGA's Florida sectional for 23 years. The last two rounds will be held only on the Bobcat Course.
Friday's final round will begin at 8 a.m. Eastern, off both the first and tenth tees at the Bobcat Course. The leaders will tee off at 10 a.m., off the first tee.
The Florida sectional is the second of two sectional Q-Schools to determine the field of the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament, set for Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The California sectional qualifier was held two weeks ago, advancing 30 players from that event into the LPGA's final stage. Tournament fields at each of the 72-hole sectional qualifiers are cut to the low-70 players and ties after 36 holes. After four rounds, the top-30 players and ties from each sectional will advance into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
The final stage of LPGA qualifying will be held Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sectional qualifiers will be joined at the final stage of "Q-school" by current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status for 2011, along with players finishing Nos. 6-10, and the next top 10 players on the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour money list (who do not already have LPGA status).
The LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach will be contested over 90 holes, with a cut made after 72 holes to the low 70 and ties.
To follow scores of these and other contestants throughout the week, visit LPGA.com. Daily wrap stories from the Florida sectional will be posted on both LPGA.com and duramedfuturestour.com.