2015 Blue Bay LPGA
Sanya, Hainan Island, China
October 31, 2015
LPGA Tour veteran Candie Kung and rookie Sei Young Kim share the third-round lead at the Blue Bay LPGA as tough scoring conditions continue to be the story in China. The duo are at even-par 216 through 54 holes and lead Stacy Lewis by one shot. Four players are tied for fourth at 2-over par including Suzann Pettersen, Kim Kaufman, Alena Sharp and Haru Nomura.
Kung, a four-time winner on Tour, bogeyed her final two holes to fall into a tie with Kim. She finished with three birdies and four bogeys in her round of 72. Her last victory came in 2008 at the HanaBank KOLON Championship.
“Overall I’m happy with my performance today,” said Kung. “Although I really am very much distraught with the windy conditions. There is no way you really have time to think about who is behind you, who ahead of you, and in what way on course you can catch up or whatever. You just do your best.”
Kim, who held the 36-hole lead, is seeking her third victory in her first season on Tour. She shot 2-over 74 to earn a share of the lead. The 22-year old held a one-shot lead heading into the final round of her victory in Hawaii earlier this year.
“I feel that actually being here makes me a bit nervous, because in my eyes, this is the toughest course I’ve ever played,” said Kim. “Overall, I’m happy with my performance, although I feel this is really, really tough.”
Stacy Lewis went into the clubhouse two shots off the lead but a bogey by Kung on the 18th hole put the major champ just one shot back heading into Sunday’s final round. Lewis had three birdies and four bogeys in her round of 73.
“Yeah, it was frustrating,” said Lewis. “I left a lot out there. It was playing hard but I played well. Just didn’t quite do the little things right, so it’s a little frustrating. But only a couple back, which is good. I think the weather is going to be even worse tomorrow, so it’s really more of a mental test than anything.”
It has turned out to be the sort of week where pars are the highlights. Second-year Tour member Kim Kaufman had three bogeys and birdied the 18th hole to get into a tie for fourth and sits two shots back.
“We made some really good par saves, and that’s what you do out here,” said Kaufman. “We made probably a 10-footer on 6 and a 12-footer on 7 which kind of keeps it going on the front there. Those are your highlights, making good par saves.”
World No. 1 Lydia Ko (T20) mwas one of only four players to break par on Saturday and shot her best round of the week by five shots with a round of 2-under 70. Rookie Wei Ling Hsu had the low round of the day, 4-under 68.
NOT GOING LOW
Not a single player in the field is under par through the first three rounds and players’ mantras after the third round seemed to be simple: survive Sunday. The third-round scoring average was the highest of the week so far (76.282) and brought the scoring average for the week to 75.733.
The last time the winning score was over par on the LPGA Tour was 10 years ago at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open when Birdie Kim won with a score of 3-over 287 at Cherry Hills Country Club.
“It’s not even really patience,” said Stacy Lewis. “It’s accepting what the golf course gives you. It’s hard to describe even how hard it is. I mean, it’s probably some of the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in with the wind and this golf course.”
“I feel that as far as tomorrow, I would like just to simply survive the day. I won’t think too much about winning the title at this stage. -Candie Kung on her gameplan for the final round on Sunday
FIRST TIMERS IN THE HUNT
Six players who are fighting for their first LPGA titles are all within three shots of the lead and in the top-8 on the leaderboard. With windy conditions expected to continue on Sunday, scores will be unpredictable and big numbers can pop up at any time.
IN THE HUNT FOR WIN NO. 1
|T4||Haru Nomura||73-73-72 (+2), 2 shots back|
|T4||Kim Kaufman||72-72-74 (+2), 2 shots back|
|T4||Alena Sharp||74-70-74 (+2), 2 shots back|
|T8||Wei-Ling Hsu||76-75-68 (+3), 3 shots back|
|T8||Xi Yu Lin||67-77-75 (+3), 3 shots back|
|T8||Ryann O’Toole||70-73-76 (+3), 3 shots back|