Cristie Kerr matches the course record in Hawaii
After a 10-under-par 62 Friday Cristie Kerr is in position for her first win on the LPGA Tour since 2015. She said her experience – as an 18-time winner on the LPGA Tour – will play a key role in her approach to Saturday’s final round.
“I think it plays a lot,” she said. “Tomorrow I am going to try not to put too much pressure on myself. I’m just going to play my game, because inevitability I’m going to try to shoot as low as I can. If I play better than everybody else, then I’ll have the lead at the end of the tournament.”
Kerr made three birdies on her front nine before shooting a 7-under-par 29 on the back nine, which included four-straight birdies to close our her third round.
“I was just kind of being myself,” she admitted. “I just kind of stayed out of my own way today, which is what I have to do to have a chance tomorrow. I just hit it fine. I stayed out of my own way. I had a lot of fun with my caddie. It was a lot of fun today.”
Kerr’s 10-under-par round was a tournament and course record. She sits three shots back heading into Saturday’s final round at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey.
“I’ve shot 62 before, luckily. I was just trying to have the mindset of ‘it’s not where I am, it’s where I need to go.’ I stayed in the moment, and not dwell on the score too much,” she said. “if you do a lot of little things right, the score will take care of itself.”
Su-Yeon Jang looking to convert on a sponsor exemption
South Korea’s Su-Yeon Jang is hoping that a victory on the Korean LPGA Tour – and corresponding sponsor invite into the LOTTE Championship – will convert into her first LPGA Tour victory, after finishing fifth here a year ago.
Jang, who played in the final group as well in 2016, said she was nervous playing in the last pairing last year, but she has since gained a good amount of experience.
“Hopefully tomorrow I won’t get too nervous. I think that experience will help me play the rest of the round tomorrow,” she said.
Jang’s bogey free 7-under-par 65 was one of the best rounds of the day. She explained the key to her round was how she approached the greens.
“I think the greens are pretty receptive here,” she said. “When you compare to average players, I think I have a lower trajectory than a lot of others, so (this course) fits my game. Given the fact that the greens are receptive, I am able to what I want to do.”
Jang, who doesn’t have a bogey this week, completed her second round Friday morning after a weather delay Thursday. By the end of the day Friday she had opened up a three-shot cushion on two golfers – Alena Sharp and Cristie Kerr.
She said she has learned a lot since her appearance in the final group here a year ago.
“Last year sometimes if I didn't feel well maybe I wouldn't go hit the weight room. I really worked on not going through this up and down in my routine and try to keep things consistent,” she said. “Even on the golf course I really worked on my short game this past year, and I think I've improved quite a bit there. Emotionally and physically I feel like I'm a better player today.”
Jang will be paired with Cristie Kerr for Saturday’s final round in the final group. It’s her second-straight year of appearing in the last group at this event.
Lydia Ko makes a third-round move
After a fairly pedestrian start to the LOTTE Championship, Lydia Ko made a big time move Friday thanks to a bogey-free 65 saw her climb up into a tie for 7th.
Ko made three birdies on the front nine and followed it up with four birdies on the back nine to fire the 7-under-par 65, her second-best round of 2017. She credited her ball-striking as the key factor to get her back in the mix.
“I hit it better than the last couple of days, so I gave myself a few more looks at birdies,” said Ko. “I was able to hole some longer putts on the front nine (which was my back nine). When you get to hole putts that you don’t necessarily think are in birdie range, it’s always nice. It’s kind of a bonus.”
Although Ko is fairly far back of the lead held by So-Yeon Jang, she still has a positive attitude heading into Saturday’s finale.
“All I can do tomorrow is play my best,” she explained. “Considering what position I was in going into the weekend, I think I’m happy with where I’m placed. Hopefully I’ll have a good finish tomorrow.”
Alena Sharp still looking for her first LPGA Tour win
Despite a bogey on her final hole of the day, Canadian Alena Sharp sits just three shots back of the lead at the LOTTE Championship, searching for her first LPGA Tour victory.
“Obviously I would love to win tomorrow, but if I don’t, I’m really proud of how I played this week,” said Sharp.
The 36-year-old Olympian has played all five years at the LOTTE Championship, but despite her experience in Hawaii, she explained this year was different because of the changing weather conditions.
“There are no trade winds (this year). Normally it’s blowing 20 miles an hour and it makes it really difficult. Now it’s wet and you’ve got to control your spin,” she explained. “I think tomorrow is supposed to be not windy, so I’m going to have to shoot a low number to catch the leader.”
And even though Sharp has been on the LPGA Tour for the better part of a decade, she still has an insatiable hunger to notch her first win.
“It’s hard to win out here. You have to play good golf,” she said. “I just love playing golf, so I don’t think about I as ‘I need to win’ because I just love the competition. I love travelling to all the different places we play and the amazing courses we play. I have a lot of passion for the game itself.”
Sharp will be paired with the 2015 U.S Women’s Open champion In Gee Chun for Saturday’s final round in the penultimate group.