Alison Lee took advantage of moving day at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, moving right back into the position she held to start the week – at the top of the leaderboard. The world No.44 enters the final round in search of her first win on the LPGA Tour and will begin the final round with a three-stroke lead at 13-under par, ahead of Brittany Lang at 10-under par and In-Kyung Kim at nine-under par.
“I've been in this situation before. I mean, I do have a few strokes ahead of the field; I feel like there are a lot of birdies out there you can get, and a lot bogeys as well if you get in the wrong spot,” Lee said after her round. “So it's still anyone's game. I have to go back and do some reading for class, so that'll keep my mind off it for sure.” Lee is a student at UCLA who has balanced taking classes with playing a full-time schedule since becoming a rookie on Tour in 2015.
Lee opened with a 65 on Thursday to take a three-stroke lead, but was caught on Friday by fellow American Brittany Lang, who took a one-stroke lead ahead of Lee heading into the weekend in Korea. Saturday, the 21-year-old quickly retook the lead with four consecutive birdies on her outward nine and lead by as many three during the course of the day. Those came after a bogey at the third that got Lee back on track.
“So, yeah, I mean, I kind of, that kind of gets me, when I make a bogey, especially through a mistake, kind of gets me a little angry, I guess, and gets me more focused,” Lee told the media. “So, yeah, I think the bogey almost helped because it kind of snapped me back into the game and got me more focused.”
For the second consecutive day Lee stumbled on the back nine and failed to get up and down at the par four, 14th hole where a two shot swing put Lang within one-stroke of the leader. But Lee bounced back immediately at the par four, 15th hole with a birdie to extend her lead again to two. With a birdie at the last, Lee carded a four-under par, 68 to take a three-stroke lead heading into Sunday. Lang wasn’t able to find much momentum on Saturday, posting two bogeys and two birdies en route to an Even par, 72 to trail Lee by three.
Since September, Kim has played some of her best golf in years. The world No.30 is in the hunt for her third worldwide win in a month and sits just four-strokes back of the lead entering Sunday’s final round. Kim won on the Ladies European Tour the week before the Evian Championship, where she finished in a share of sixth. In her next start on the LPGA Tour she earned her first win in six years, capturing the Reignwood LPGA Classic for her fourth career win on Tour. Carlota Ciganda sits alone in fourth at eight-under par, Candie Kung, Min-Sun Kim and Cristie Kerr round out the top-5 at seven-under par.