HULL AND KANG TIED FOR THE LEAD HEADING INTO FINAL ROUND
Charley Hull and Danielle Kang are tied for the lead after the third round at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, sitting at 12-under 204 and holding a one-stroke advantage over Ariya Jutanugarn (-11). Hull and Kang have shot identical rounds over the first three days on SKY72’s Ocean Course, both searching for their first win of 2018.
Hull and Kang, who were among four players tied for the lead overnight, maintained their position at the top on Saturday as they held off Rolex Rankings World No. 1 Sung Hyun Park and No. 2 Jutanugarn to set the tournament pace heading into Sunday’s final round.
HULL INSPIRED BY HUGE GALLERIES AS SHE MOVES INTO A TWO-WAY TIE AT THE TOP
Playing in front of massive galleries alongside Sung Hyun Park and Ariya Jutanugarn was the just the tonic Charley Hull needed to produce good golf - and she duly delivered in Saturday's third round as she fired a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to end the day in a two-way tie at the top with Danielle Kang.
"It was fun today," said Hull. "It's great to see big galleries like this because it makes you have to play well because they are a pretty tough crowd to please. It was good fun playing with two great players, as well. I really enjoyed it. The conditions were pretty good, scorable conditions. I felt like I was playing pretty well. Played decent on the back nine, very steady and nice to finish with a birdie."
Hull and Kang finished level at 12-under 204 and will take a one-stroke lead over Jutanugarn into Sunday's final round with Hull seeking her second career victory on the LPGA Tour - and her first since the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship.
"Obviously winning tomorrow would be great," said the 22-year-old Hull, who has also recorded one victory on the Ladies European Tour at the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup. "I think any win's good, but this one would be great. But I'm just not even getting ahead of myself. Just one step at a time -- one more step tomorrow."
KANG FINDS A HAPPY PLACE IN KOREA, SHARES TOURNAMENT LEAD
Danielle Kang has not always been in the happiest spot with her golf over the past few months but she propelled herself into a prime position on Saturday, firing a 4-under 68 to end the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in a share of the lead.
After missing the cut in six of her previous eight starts on the LPGA Tour, Kang is now ideally placed to push on for her second victory on the circuit - and her first since the 2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
"I'm just honestly really happy with the process at the moment," said Kang, after posting a 12-under total of 204. "I've been going through a lot of rough times through the last few months, and honestly, I'm just kind of still working through it a lot of the times. Even when I look really steady, I'm still fighting it and I'm just trying to get into the happy place again, just playing golf and not worrying about or having just anxiety or anything like that."
Kang loves being back in Korea, where she has spent some quality time over the past week with friends and family. "I love that I'm in the lead in Korea," she smiled. "We come here once a year and this is so special to me. In the beginning of the week, people kept asking, 'Are you ready to play?' I said, 'I'm just really, really happy.' I get to be around my friends and family and my cousins came out today. I'm focused, but I'm just happy to be here."
IN GEE CHUN TRUSTS THE CROWN FOR A GOOD FINISH
Two-time major winner In Gee Chun completed the third round with a 6-under 66, carding seven birdies against a lone bogey. Her third-round finish placed her just two strokes behind the leaders heading into the final round at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.
“I tried to just trust myself and tried to focus on each shot, that helped me get a good score during the back nine, and it worked really well,” said Chun, who stormed home on Saturday with five birdies on the back nine.
Chun considers Team Korea’s victory at last week’s UL International Crown as a turning point in her career and hopes that the confidence she gained from that triumph will have a positive impact in Sunday’s final round.
“I think it was really good experience for me before [UL International Crown]. I was so nervous; I felt a lot of pressure. But we did, we made a win. Everyone said ‘Wow, In Gee, I think it was a good turning point for you.’ I just trust what they said and trust myself. It’s been working really well.”
ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 1 SCENARIOS
Ariya Jutanugarn is projected to overtake Sung Hyun Park and move to Rolex Rankings No. 1 with a fourth place or better finish this week. With a win on Sunday, Jutanugarn would move to world no. 1 regardless of where Sung Hyun Park finishes.
The following scenarios are based on solo finishes:
- If Jutanugarn finishes second, Park would need to finish fourth or worse
- If Jutanugarn finishes third, Park would need to finish 10th or worse
- If Jutanugarn finishes fourth, Park would need to finish 22nd or worse
WITH A WIN…
Sung Hyun Park and Ariya Jutanugarn would lead for the most wins on Tour in 2018, with four wins
Jutanugarn is projected to move to World No. 1 regardless of where Park finishes
Jutanugarn would earn her 11th LPGA victory, which would be the most wins on the LPGA Tour from a player from Thailand
Charley Hull and Danielle Kang would become a two-time LPGA Tour winner; Hull’s last win on the Tour was at the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship and Kang’s last win was the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Hull and Kang would become the 22nd different winner of the 2018 LPGA season; Hull would become the second Englishwoman, joining Georgia Hall while Kang would become the seventh winner from the USA joining Brittany Lincicome, Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie, Annie Park, Marina Alex, Angela Stanford
Minjee Lee would earn her fifth LPGA victory, which would be fourth-most among Australian players on the LPGA All-Time Winners list, behind Karrie Webb (41), Jan Stephenson (16) and Rachel Hetherington (eight)