SAGSTROM LOOKING FOR MAIDEN VICTORY IN BOCA RATON
One day after having the Boca Rio Golf Club gallery on 59 watch, Madelene Sagstrom hit all 18 greens in regulation during the third round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.
The 27-year-old Swede followed up a career-best second-round 62 with a bogey-free 67 on Saturday underneath sunny skies. The three-time Symetra Tour winner is looking for her first career win on the LPGA Tour and will sleep on a 54-hole lead for the first time in her young LPGA career.
“I was in this situation a few times on Symetra, and it's just to keep the same game plan,” said Sagstrom, of her strategy for Sunday. “Don't go out and change anything, just keep doing what you're doing, because you're obviously doing something right if you're on top of the leaderboard. So for me, that's just what I'm going to try to focus on, just trying to I mean, I was telling myself that this morning. It was like, I didn't play perfect yesterday, but I still shot 62. I didn't play perfect today and I still shot a 67. So it's not about being perfect, it's about having a lot of acceptance and just going out and do the best I can.”
On Sunday, Sagstrom will be chased by a trio of multiple-time LPGA Tour winners as she holds a two-stroke advantage over last week’s runner-up Nasa Hataoka and a three-stroke lead over major champion Danielle Kang and 10-time LPGA Tour winner Sei Young Kim.
Kim was on a roll on moving day before her tee shot on 18 found the water, her lone bogey of the day. Kim said she’s comfortable chasing the leader on Sunday; she has come from behind in four of her 10 career LPGA wins.
“Greens are very soft, so I can attack the pin,” Kim said of her game plan for Sunday. “So, yeah, which is meaning I have a lot of chance for birdie. So, yeah, it -- I can play very aggressive, especially in this golf course.”
Jessica Korda (T8) leads the Florida contingency looking for a title in their home state along with Boca natives Jaye Marie Green (T13) and Lexi Thompson (T16) in the top 20.
KANG GOES LOW WITH BOGEY-FREE MOVING DAY
While the weather has been hit or miss throughout much of the week for the inaugural Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, there is one constant and that is the steady climb of Danielle Kang up the leaderboard.
A bogey-free effort of 7-under par 65 this afternoon at Boca Rio Golf Club moved Kang to 12-under par overall and into a tie for third with 18 holes remaining. Over her last 36 holes, Kang has not recorded a single bogey and heads to the final round just three shots back of the lead with scores of 72-67-65.
“I didn’t miss any short putts which was helpful and have been hitting the ball pretty great,” said Kang, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour including one major victory at the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “Despite the weather, I think the golf course is playing differently every day and that is what’s interesting about it. The rain helped out to make the greens more receptive, but it has definitely dried very quick and these Bermuda greens pick up pace throughout the day. I really like how they setup the golf course.”
GLOBAL TOP 10 IN BOCA RATON
With a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the line, the 2020 LPGA Tour season holds some extra pressure for those athletes looking to represent their respective countries. Heading into the final round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, nine countries are represented in the top 10 at -8 or better: Sweden, Japan, United States, Republic of Korea, France, Thailand, People’s Republic of China, Canada and Czech Republic. According to the Olympic Women’s Golf Rankings and Rolex Rankings, 54-hole leader Madelene Sagstrom is currently slated to represent Sweden in her Olympic debut.
If the Olympic qualification period ended today, an additional three players in the top 10 in Boca Raton would also represent their respective countries for the first time: Nasa Hataoka (Japan), Danielle Kang (United States) and Celine Boutier (France). Four players at the top of the leaderboard – Sei Young Kim (Rep. of Korea), Moriya Jutanugarn (Thailand), Brooke Henderson (Canada) and Klara Spilkova (Czech Republic) – are 2016 Olympians who would currently re-qualify for the 2020 games.Jessica Korda (United States), who is T8, is now the first alternate for the U.S., ranked No. 17 in the world.
The women’s golf competition will be held Aug. 5-8 at Kasumigaseki Country Club, located 40 miles outside Tokyo. Qualifying for the 60-player field ends following the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
WITH A WIN
Madelene Sagstrom would become a Rolex First-Time Winner
Sagstrom would be the 12th different player from Sweden to win on the LPGA Tour, and the first since Pernilla Lindberg won the 2018 ANA Inspiration
With the $300,000 first-place prize Sagstrom would cross the $1 million mark in official career earnings with $1,132,568
Nasa Hataoka would earn her fourth career LPGA Tour title, and would have at least one win in each of the last three seasons (2019 Kia Classic, 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, 2018 TOTO Japan Classic)
Danielle Kang would earn her fourth career LPGA Tour title, and would have recorded one win in each of the last four seasons (2019 Buick LPGA Shanghai, 2018 Buick LPGA Shanghai, 2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship)
Sei Young Kim would earn her 11th career LPGA Tour title and with the $300,000 winner’s check would be the 25th player in LPGA history to cross the $9 million mark in official career earnings
Kim would extend her yearly winning streak to six seasons, with at least one victory each year since her rookie season in 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 116 Madelene Sagstrom (72-62-67)
- Hit all 18 greens in regulation and 11 of 14 fairways, with 32 putts
- Sagstrom is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she has six career top-10 finishes with a career-best runner-up finish at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship
- Member of the 2017 European Solheim Cup Team, posting a 1-2-0 record
- Member of Team Sweden at the 2018 UL International Crown, posting a 1-3-0 record
- Won the Symetra Tour’s 2016 Volvik Race for the Card to earn LPGA Tour Membership for the 2017 season
- Was the 2016 Symetra Tour Player of the Year and Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year with three wins and 12 top-10 finishes
- She is a 2015 graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in psychology
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Nasa Hataoka (72-64-67)
- Hit 11 of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens, with 24 putts
- Hataoka fell to Gaby Lopez on the seventh playoff hole in a Monday finish at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions; her fifth career runner-up finish
- She is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she has three career victories, most recently at the 2019 Kia Classic
- Hataoka won the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Japan Women’s Open Championship; in 2016 she was the first amateur and the youngest champion to win a major on the JLPGA
- She has five total wins on the JLPGA, with four being major titles
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Danielle Kang (72-67-65)
- Hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Finished T12 at the 2020 season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions
- She is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour, she has three career wins including a major championship
- In 2019, ranked in the top-10 on Tour in Rolex Player of the Year standings (8th), Race to the CME Globe standings (8th), Official Money (9th) and greens in regulation (9th)
- A two-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2017, 2019) with a 4-4-0 overall record
- Partners with UNICEF for the Birdies to Build Better Futures campaign
Rolex Rankings No. 6 Sei Young Kim (68-69-67)
- Hit eight of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Finished T7 at the 2020 season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions
- Kim is in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour, she has 10 career wins
- Earned the largest winner’s check in the history of women’s golf, $1.5 million, with a win at the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship, surpassing over $8 million in career earnings
- Represented Republic of Korea in the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing T25
- Her win at the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic set the LPGA’s 72-hole scoring record at 31-under 257, breaking the mark of 27-under 261 held by Annika Sorenstam and Kim herself
- Is a third-degree black belt in taekwondo and her father owned a taekwondo academy in Korea
- Players T8 or better represent nine different countries: Sweden, Japan, U.S., Republic of Korea, France, Thailand, People’s Rep. of China, Canada, Czech Republic