BELLEAIR, Fla. — LPGA Tour winner Amy Yang took full advantage of Moving Day at The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, blitzing Pelican Golf Club with a bogey-free, 9-under 61 that saw her make seven birdies and an eagle on the par-4 5th hole. The Republic of Korea native started the day in a tie for 13th at 6-under, six back of the lead, kicking off her third round with back-to-back birdies on holes 1 and 2 to move to 8-under early. She then holed out on No. 5 from 120 yards with a 9-iron to record her first eagle since the first round of the AIG Women’s Open, grabbing two more birdies on the par-5 7th and par-3 9th holes to turn in 29.
The 34-year-old parred holes 10, 11 and 12 before picking up another birdie on 13 to get to 13-under overall, making two more birdies on the par-3 15th hole and par-4 17th hole to post her new career-low round on the LPGA Tour. Her three-day total of 195 is Yang’s career-low 54-hole score, besting her previous benchmark by two shots, and it’s the third time this season that she has been within five of the lead entering the final round, most recently doing so at the AIG Women’s Open where she finished in a tie for fourth.
It’s the first time a 61 has been recorded on the LPGA Tour since Atthaya Thitikul last did so on day two of the 2022 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, and it sets the new 18-hole tournament scoring record for The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican
While Yang was happy with how she physically played on Saturday in Belleair, Fla., she was much more pleased with her mental attitude, something that can be difficult to keep in check when you’re working to card a round deep in the red.
“I would say yesterday and today I had both great rounds, and I was thinking about what did I do so well to play low score. It was just I was committed. I was really committed to each shot,” said Yang, who has recorded rounds of 69-65-61 so far at Pelican Golf Club. “Really not much going on. A lot of times you have a lot of doubts out there and second-guessing, but I don't think I had that yesterday, not (much) of it yesterday and today.”
This is Yang’s 19th start of the 2023 LPGA Tour season, and in her 18 previous events, she has earned two top-five finishes in addition to her T4 at Walton Heath Golf Club, tying for fourth at The Chevron Championship and tying for third at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. This is her third appearance in The ANNIKA, and in her two prior starts in 2021 and 2022, she missed the cut and finished T48, respectively.
Yang first joined the LPGA Tour in 2008 and has earned four victories in her 16-year career, most recently winning the 2019 Honda LPGA Thailand. Though it’s been quite some time since she captured her fourth Tour title, the veteran knows that she still has enough game to win out here and will continue to lean into that self-belief as she works to make up a three-shot deficit on Sunday at The ANNIKA.
“I kind of feel that I have the game out there today. Instead of thinking what's around there, where do I want to miss it, if I want to or if I see something,” Yang said. “Instead of thinking about all the troubles, just thinking this is another straight shot that I've been practicing, another straight putt. Just pick a line, and you try to hit there. It's just that easy.
“When you get up to a certain level, I think 90% is more mental game up there, so just going to try to stay calm and just do my best.”