ARIYA JUTANUGARN FEELING GOOD IN SINGAPORE
Ariya Jutanugarn, the young 23-year-old from Thailand has accomplished many feats as a professional in her four years on the LPGA Tour including sweeping every major LPGA award in 2018; however, Jutanugarn is making a strong big to accomplish something that she’s never done before—claim an LPGA Tour victory in Asia.
“You know, one of my dreams, maybe started five years ago—I really want to win in Asia because I never have,” said the 10-time LPGA Tour winner.
Jutanugarn started out the two-week Asia stretch feeling very little confidence and shaky about her game, especially in Thailand where the pressure of playing well in front of huge home crowds made her nervous but her self-assessed game in Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club is showing much improvement.
“I'm getting a lot better because my first two rounds, I felt like I can't really do, but today I finally made some (putts),” said Jutanugarn who made 26 putts in the third round. Her third-round 66 was bogey-free and so was her first-round 68. “I've been playing pretty good this week but one thing I have to keep doing, just focus on the things I can control because I just never know with my shot, it could be 12-under, I don't know, I just have to do my best.”
MINJEE LEE AIMS TO GROW THE GAME
Minjee Lee, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, is giving third-round leader Ariya Jutanugarn a good run with 18 holes to play in Singapore. Lee sits one shot off the lead after finishing at 5-under-par on the day.
“I feel pretty good. I feel like I'm hitting it pretty solid. I probably hit a couple drives here and there that I sort of sprayed a little bit. If I can get that straightened out and hole a couple more putts, then I think I'll be all right,” said Lee, after shooting a 67 that included 29 putts.
Coming off the heels of a runner-up finish last week in Thailand and jumping four spots on the Rolex World Rankings, Lee’s competitive nature remains underrated but she continues to set her sights on much more than rankings.
“Well, my goal is to just grow the same, so I would just like to be a role model, follow in the footsteps of Karrie Webb for Australian golf and the golf world. I'd just like to be known as a good golf role model at the end of the day.”
EWART SHADOFF LOOKS TO DRAW ON PREVIOUS CLOSE CALLS IN BID FOR FIRST LPGA TOUR WIN
Twice a runner-up during her LPGA Tour career without yet managing to record a maiden victory, Jodi Ewart Shadoff is aiming to use memories of previous close calls to help her bid this week to reach the winner's circle for the first time. Ewart Shadoff heads into the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship at nine-under, just two strokes behind tournament leader Ariya Jutanugarn.
"I think it's just putting myself into this position as much as I can, and being able to learn from it," said the Englishwoman, who has tied for eighth in two of her first three starts of the 2019 LPGA Tour season - at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. "I've had a couple of really good finishes this year already ... so hopefully I can take that experience into tomorrow. Just stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself. I'm striking the ball well and hitting a lot of fairways. As long as I stick to the task at hand, I'll hopefully do well."
Ewart Shadoff, whose second-place finishes on the LPGA Tour came at the 2016 Citi Banamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the 2017 Ricoh Women's British Open, has been especially pleased this week with how she has handled the slick greens on Sentosa Golf Club's New Tanjong Course.
"My putting over past couple weeks has probably been my weakness," she said. "It's definitely improved this week, and I like the pace of these greens. I feel a bit more comfortable with my putting stroke than I have done in previous weeks. Again, it's all good for the confidence."
JIN YOUNG KO BENEFITS FROM A PUTTING TIP SUGGESTED BY SOME FRIENDS
Overnight advice from some friends that she putt with the flagstick in the hole during the third round reaped instant reward for Jin Young Ko as she carded the equal lowest score of the day with a six-under 66. That left Ko three strokes off the pace after 54 holes in pursuit of her third career victory on the LPGA Tour.
"Putting, definitely putting, was the biggest thing for me today," said 2018 LPGA Rookie of the Year Ko, after mixing seven birdies with a lone bogey. "First two days, my putting was not good so I had a little stress for putting. But then I try just to putt with the pin in the hole. My friends say to me, 'Jin Young, how do you think about leaving the pin in, when putting for the hole?' So I reply, 'Okay, I will try today.' It was really good. It was awesome. I used the same putting technique, I just needed a small target, the hole. So the pin is the target - really brilliant."
Ko won her first LPGA Tour title as a non-member at the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, then added a second in her first official start as a member - at the 2018 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. What would a third win mean to her? "Always a win is good for me," she smiled. "So if I win tomorrow, I think I will be crying on the green."
WITH A WIN…
Sung Hyun Park would earn her sixth LPGA Tour victory and with the $225,000 winner’s check, Park would cross the $4 million mark in career earnings; she would move from 82nd to 77th on the all-time LPGA Career Money List with $4,076,822
Minjee Lee would earn her fifth LPGA Tour 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)
With the $225,000 winner’s check, Lee would cross the $5 million mark in career earnings and move to 63rd on the All-Time LPGA Money List with $5,009,469 in career earnings
Jodi Ewart Shadoff would become a Rolex First-Time Winner, the second player to win for the first time during the 2019 season
With the $225,000 winner’s check, Ewart Shadoff would move from 118th to 108th on the All-Time LPGA Career Money List with $2,996,873
- 21 players in the top 20 represent 10 different countries (Thailand, Australia, England, Republic of Korea, USA, Spain, New Zealand, China, Canada, Japan)
- Ariya Jutanugarn and Jin Young Ko shot the day’s low round of 6-under-par 66