With three rounds in the books at Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Huize Lian (Dalian, China) is back on top of the leaderboard after a 5-under par 67 on the Pete Dye Course. Lian is 14-under overall and has a two-stroke lead with 18 holes remaining in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“I had a good round today, tee shot and putting are doing good job as so far. [There was] hot weather today, I started losing focus on back nine but made a nice adjustment back,” said Lian, who led after the first round as well. “Dinah Shore is a pretty course. I think I’ll focus on putting and staying hydrated.”
A third-round 67 launched Australia’s Amelia Garvey into a tie for second with 36-hole leader Agathe Laisne at 12-under.
“I basically holed everything I looked at. I didn’t hit it well at all, but when you have the putter working it makes life a lot easier,” said Garvey. “It was nice to not really have the pressure of making the cut and going out there, keep attacking. I’m happy with the spot I am in and really liking the courses as well. The ball is going a little bit further and there are bigger targets off the tee, and I am really excited to get back on the tournament course tomorrow.”
Duke University’s Gina Kim (66) has gone bogey-free over her last 37 holes to join fellow amateur Auston Kim (72) four strokes back of the lead at –10.
“It feels amazing to not have any bogeys the last two days. It’s a huge confidence booster, so I’m excited to see what I can do tomorrow,” said Kim, who fired a 6-under par Saturday on the Pete Dye Course. “I remembered the game plan on how to play the course since it worked so well before [at the NWGA Q-School prep]. Which holes to be aggressive on and which holes I need to just put the ball in the middle of the green and take a safe par. I distinctly remember No. 16, I eagled that par-5 before so I played aggressive there again, and it turned out to be a great birdie for me. There has been good memories like that to make me feel confident and comfortable out there.”
Yu-Sang Hou (Taipei, Chinese Taipei) recently completed her senior year at the University of Arizona and is fully embracing the moment this week presents. She carded the low round (65) of moving day and matched the score of the week so far to move up into a tie for 14th alongside Katherine Smith (Detroit Lakes, Minnesota), Teresa Toscano (Huelva, Spain), and Emily Mahar (Brisbane, Australia).
“I was hitting better today and my putting helped me a lot, so I think my putting is definitely the key for me to shot -7,” said Hou. “To think that I’m actually here playing Q-school is really unreal to be honest and looking forward to playing more golf with all the other good players around the world. I think being patient is really important for me this whole week and keep my gameplan until the last hole.”
Of the 85 amateurs in the Stage I field this week, 41 made the cut of +3 and 15 are inside the top-24 competitors on the leaderboard. Final-round action begins at 7:15 a.m. PDT tomorrow with all play off the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Players finishing in the top-95 and ties will advance to Stage II from Oct. 21-24 in Venice, Fla., on the Panther Course and Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf and Country Club.
Kaitlin Milligan (-8, T6) on how she feels after 54 holes in Coachella Valley:
“Felt solid today, I made a lot of birdies which gave me some cushion. I had a blast in my group with Kate [Smith] and Brooke [Matthews]. I’m pleased with how I’ve played so far, sometimes the atmosphere can be intimidating but I’m just trying to have fun and play relaxed. Looking forward to tomorrow and playing Dinah Shore again.”
Kenzie Wright (-3, T25) on shooting 5-under par 67 on day three:
“Putting was definitely my strong suit today. I think I only had 10 putts on the front nine, so honestly was one of the best putting rounds I have ever had. I was able to make some birdies when I did get on the green, so overall my short game really helped.”
Helen Kreuzer (-1, T50) on her best round so far this week at Stage I:
“I shot a bogey-free 69. I was putting really well; I think I played the golf course the right way and it was a lot of fun to be out there. I am excited to go back tomorrow. I think I just have to make sure to give myself looks tomorrow and make sure I have the right lines off the tee. You can really shoot low on the course, and it’s in fabulous shape. I really like playing it back-to-back and I think that will help.”