BROOKE HENDERSON LOOKING FORWARD TO FINAL ROUND
Defending champion Brooke Henderson, carded six birdies and bookend bogeys on No. 2 and No. 18 for her third-round 69 to finish with a one stroke advantage over the field. This is a familiar position for the seven-time LPGA champion, who also held the lead going into the final round at last year’s event—but this year, she enters the final round going head-to-head with Nelly Korda, who’s already won on Tour this season.
“It was really windy today. Really had to stay patient,” said Henderson who started the day four shots behind the lead. “I kind of fought through my front nine a little bit. Bogeyed the second hole I guess, but made a birdie on 5. Hitting good shots; just not really making birdies.”
If Henderson goes on to win tomorrow, that would be the second time she successfully defended her title—she was the 2015 and 2016 champion of the Cambia Portland Classic. If she claims her eighth career victory at Ko Olina tomorrow, she would also tie the record for most victories on the LPGA or PGA Tour by a Canadian, joining Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson.
“The back nine I made a lot of birdies, which was a lot of fun. Couple saves for par, too. Would've been nice to finish 18 with a par, but I'm excited to have moved up a little bit today. Just looking forward to tomorrow.”
NELLY KORDA NOT A HAPPY CAMPER
“Was a bit of a frustrating day on the front nine. Was not hitting it well. I was not putting well at all. Kind of got it back on the back nine,” said Korda after turning in a 71 on Friday. She started the day with a birdie on her first hole with two bogeys on the front nine, came back with birdies on alternating hole on Nos. 12-16 but ended the day with a bogey on the 18th. “Yeah, it was pretty frustrating today. Wasn't the happiest camper out there.”
Korda is looking for her second win on the LPGA Tour in 2019, she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open earlier this season, where she also was in the lead position heading into the final round.
“I'm happy to be in that spot. Brooke is play well. Everyone is playing well out here. It's going to be hard, so I am just going to take it shot by shot. We're all going to be fighting really hard for it,” said Korda.
MINJEE LEE CARDS BOGEY-FREE ROUND WITH A SINGLE EAGLE
“It was pretty steady. I mean, I didn't really make any birdies. I just made one eagle, chip-in eagle,” said Minjee Lee after turning in a bogey-free scorecard on Friday. She chipped in for eagle on the par-5 fifth and placed herself well within contention going into the final round.
“Yeah, that was awesome,” said Lee of her eagle. “I mean, it was pretty hard out there. The wind was really gusty and the pin placements were pretty hard for the wind direction we had.”
Windy conditions on the island are to be expected by the players, but nevertheless make club selection a challenge on every hole.
“I think, a few I hit it too long, like I clubbed too much,” said Lee who hit five of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in Round 3. “Yeah, maybe tomorrow I can adjust and hopefully improve on that.”
ARIYA JUTANUGARN SNEAKS UP TO LEADERS IN ROUND 3
Ariya Jutanugarn started the third round of the LOTTE Championship nine shots behind the leaders at T12. After her blemish-free 6-under 66, she is currently two shots behind the leaders in fifth, still well within reach of the former World No. 1.
“I think most important thing today is like, I felt I'm really too far behind the lead,” said Jutanugarn to herself before heading into Round 3. I feel like I can't catch anyway, so what I want to do is just be patient, do my best every shot.”
Jutanugarn is still looking for her first win this season but the secret to fighting the windy conditions at Ko Olina was having more confidence in her club selection.
“Today I feel like I trusted my decisions more, because it's pretty windy and there were a lot of thing going on. Last few day, especially yesterday when it's windy, I'm feel like I'm not really trust the shot I pick,” said Jutanugarn. “Today I feel like, you know what? I'm just going to do every shot my best and trust my decision.”
WITH A WIN…
Brooke Henderson would earn her eighth LPGA Tour victory, joining all-time Canadian golfers Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson with the most victories by a Canadian player on the LPGA or PGA Tour
Nelly Korda would earn her third LPGA Tour victory, her second win of the 2019 season; she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open earlier this season
With the $300,000 winner’s check, Korda would cross the $2 million mark in career earnings with $2,278,981 and move from 158th to 146th on the All-Time LPGA Career Money List
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 $300,000 winner’s check, Lee would cross the $5 million mark in career earnings and moves to 61st on the All-Time LPGA Money List with $5,276,318 in career earnings
Eun-hee Ji would earn her sixth LPGA Tour victory, her second win of the 2019 season; Ji was the inaugural winner of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America
Rolex Rankings No. 12 Brooke Henderson
This is the first time this season that Henderson has held the lead or a share of the lead through 54 holes
She hit nine of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, making 28 putts
Henderson is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she is a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour; she is one-win shy of tying Sandra Post’s record for most victories by a Canadian player in LPGA Tour history
This is Henderson’s seventh event of the 2019 season; she has three top-10 finishes this season
She is the defending champion of the LOTTE Championship; this is her fourth start of the LOTTE Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 10 Nelly Korda
This is the second time this season Korda has held the lead or a share of the lead through 54 holes; she previously won the ISPS Handa Australian Open and in 2018 won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship
She hit seven of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, making 31 putts
Korda is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2016 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and finished ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card Symetra Tour money list to earn LPGA Tour status in her first year as a professional
This is Korda’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open earlier this season for her second victory on Tour
She is competing in her first LOTTE Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Minjee Lee
She hit five of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, making 30 putts
Lee is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she is a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour and also represented Australia in the 2019 Rio Olympics, finishing T7
This is Lee’s eighth event of the 2019 season; she has two runner-up finishes this season—at the Honda LPGA Thailand and at the HSBC Women’s World Championship
She is the 2016 champion of the LOTTE Championship; this is her fifth start of the LOTTE Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 20 Eun-Hee Ji
She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens, making 23 putts
Ji is in her 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Her most recent win was at the inaugural 2019 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America
This is Ji’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she has two additional top-10 finishes this year
She is competing in her eighth LOTTE Championship; her best finish is T11 in 2018
23 players in the top 20 represent 10 different countries (Republic of Korea, USA, Australia, Canada, Spain, Thailand, China, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Philippines, Puerto Rico and South Africa)