KORDA AND HSU SET FOR SUNDAY SHOWDOWN
Chinese Taipei’s Wei-Ling Hsu (T1, -9) will have to fend off 20-year-old American and fellow co-leader Nelly Korda, along with a quintet of players two shots off the lead, in order to win her first LPGA title on home soil on Sunday at the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.
Korda has been in this position holding the 54-hole lead twice in her career, including at this year’s HSBC Women’s World Championship where she posted a career-best T2 finish. The situation will be brand new for Hsu, having never held the lead heading into the final round in her four-year LPGA career.
Hsu, who grinded out an even par round Saturday, felt like the third round was great preparation for the final round, saying, “I've never had that much people around me. Like I said, I'm nervous the first few holes because I've never seen that happen around me before. It's very good preparation for me tomorrow because tomorrow is going to be very crowded, Sunday. I think what I learned today, just I can bring to help like tomorrow's game, that I'm not going to get that nervous like today.”
The five players tied for third at 7-under par include previous LPGA winners in Lydia Ko (15 wins) and 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jin Young Ko (two wins), along with three players hoping to emerge victorious for the first time in Megan Khang, Bronte Law and Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
A DREAM COME TRUE?
Wei-Ling Hsu was among the thousands of people in the crowd seven years ago when then-Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng won the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship on home soil. It was the first time that Hsu had seen an LPGA event and gave her inspiration that one day she would be on the other side of the ropes with the gallery cheering her name.
That dream is coming to fruition this week for the 24-year-old, hoping to become the first LPGA winner from Chinese Taipei since Teresa Lu won the 2013 Mizuno Classic.
Hsu said, “It's very cool that when you make the putt, you make the birdie, especially on 16 when I save that par, the people are just like yelling and so happy for me. I definitely feel so much support that I never had.”
KORDAS COULD BE THIRD WINNING SIBLINGS ON LPGA
Nelly Korda will be aiming to join her sister, five-time LPGA winner Jessica Korda, in the winner’s circle on Sunday. If Nelly wins her first career LPGA title, the Kordas would be just the third set of sisters to win on the LPGA Tour in history.
Annika Sorenstam (72 wins) and Charlotta Sorenstam (one win) were the first to accomplish the feat in 2000, and were joined by Ariya Jutanugarn (10 wins) and Moriya Jutanugarn (one win) earlier this season when Moriya won the 2018 HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.
“I think I'll definitely be a little nervous,” Nelly said ahead of tomorrow’s final round. “Anyone who is in contention on a Sunday will obviously feel those types of feelings. But I'll also be excited and just happy to be in that position.”
JODI’S BIGGER CAUSE THIS MONTH
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff has pledged to donate 5% of her winnings this month to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Partnering with Omni United and its flagship brand Radar Tires, Ewart Shadoff has been donning the pink in October since 2016 and last year donated $100 to the BCRF for each birdie she made in the month of October.
So far in 2018, Ewart Shadoff has donated over $5,000 to the BCRF, and is poised to make another large contribution this week sitting in T4 through 54 holes.
In a press release earlier this month, Ewart Shadoff said, "I have always been impressed by the great work Omni United and Radar Tires has been doing in supporting and advancing the mission of BCRF, and it has always been an honor for me to be a part of this cause.”
Rolex Rankings No. 69 Wei-Ling Hsu (T1, -9)
Hsu, 24, is from New Taipei City
Hsu celebrated her 24th birthday last Saturday, October 20
Hsu leads heading into the final round for the first time in her LPGA career
In 2018, Hsu is having the best season of her four-year career with three top-10 finishes including two inside the top five, and the most single-season earnings in her career to date ($525,520 this season, 33rd on the Official Money List)
Hsu has five career top-10 finishes in 102 starts with a best finish of runner-up at the season-opening 2018 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
Hsu ranked second on Tour in putting average in 2017, climbing up from 126th on Tour in 2016 – she ranks 28th in putting average so far in 2018
Hsu was a member of Team Chinese Taipei at the 2018 UL International Crown
In 2014, Hsu had one win and three additional top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour and finished sixth in the Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn her LPGA Tour card
Rolex Rankings No. 39 Nelly Korda (T1, -9)
Korda, 20, is from Bradenton, Fla.
Korda leads heading into the final round for the third time in her LPGA career and the second time in the 2018 season
A 2017 LPGA rookie, Korda has ten top-10 finishes in 45 career starts on the LPGA, including a career-best runner-up at the 2018 HSBC Women’s World Championship
Korda finished third in the 2017 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings
Korda won the 2016 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and finished ninth on the 2016 Volvik Race for the Card Symetra Tour money list to earn LPGA Tour status in her first year as a professional
Korda’s older sister, Jessica, is a five-time LPGA winner but is not in the field this week
Rolex Rankings No. 56 Bronte Law (T3, -7)
Law, 23, is from Stockport, England and played collegiately at UCLA
Law has three top-10 finishes in 42 career LPGA starts, with all three coming in 2018 including a career-best sixth place result twice this year
Law was a member of Team England at the 2018 UL International Crown
Law received the 2016 ANNIKA Award and holds the UCLA record for most wins in a career with seven
Rolex Rankings No. 78 Megan Khang (T3, -7)
Khang, 21, is from Rockland, Mass.
Khang celebrated her 21st birthday on Wednesday, October 23
In 2018, Khang has made 17 of 24 cuts with a career-high five top-10 finishes
Khang has 11 top-10 finishes in 88 career LPGA starts, including a career-best T3 at the 2017 Blue Bay LPGA
Khang finished in second place in the 2016 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings
Rolex Rankings No. 11 Jin Young Ko (T3, -7)
Ko, 23, is from Seoul, Republic of Korea
Ko mathematically clinched the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award following her 13th place finish last week at the Buick LPGA Shanghai
Ko is a two-time LPGA winner and won earlier this year at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Ko won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-member in 2017 to earn LPGA membership for the 2018 LPGA season
Ko is a 10-time winner on the KLPGA Tour
Rolex Rankings No. 59 Jodi Ewart Shadoff (T3, -7)
Ewart Shadoff, 30, is from North Yorkshire, England and played collegiately at the University of New Mexico
Ewart Shadoff shot a career-low 10-under par 62 in the third round of the 2016 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
A 2011 LPGA rookie, Ewart Shadoff has 16 career top-10 finishes, including two in 2018, with two runner-up results
Ewart Shadoff is a two-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team (2013, 2017) with an overall 3-4-0 record and a two-time member of Team England at the UL International Crown (2016, 2018) with an overall 5-2-1 record
Rolex Rankings No. 16 Lydia Ko (T3, -7)
Ko, 21, is from Auckland, New Zealand
In 2018, Ko has eight top-10 finishes including her 15th career LPGA win at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship and a T2 at last week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai
Ko has finished no worse than T16 in each of her last six starts
Ko has a decorated career, winning the 2014 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, 2015 Rolex Player of the Year and Money Title, 2014 & 2015 Race to the CME Globe, 2015 Vare Trophy and the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Ko’s 10th career LPGA victory came at the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
Saturday’s scoring average (73.655) was the highest of the week
Five players have won in their home country in 2018 – the United States’ Annie Park (ShopRite LPGA Classic) and Marina Alex (Cambia Portland Classic), England’s Georgia Hall (Ricoh Women’s British Open), Canada’s Brooke Henderson (CP Women’s Open) and the Republic of Korea’s In Gee Chun (KEB Hana Bank Championship)
Three players have multiple wins in 2018 - Ariya Jutanugarn (3), Sung Hyun Park (3) and Brooke Henderson (2)
There have been 23 different winners from nine different countries on the LPGA in 2018