Play has concluded at the third round of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Tournament Stage I, and the cut has been made to 125 players. The field went to their final course before the cut, looking to either march up the leaderboard or maintain their position. The third round at Stage I is arguably the most nerve-racking round of the year for most players, as it decides their status for the 2024 season. If you miss the cut, no Epson Tour status is granted, but if you make the cut, you earn Epson Tour status and possibly a few starts in 2024.
Still at the top of the leaderboard after 54 holes is amateur Savannah Grewal, who had her best round of the tournament with a six-under 66 and is fifteen-under at Stage I. Grewal rolled in seven birdies on the day, with her second mistake of the tournament on her second hole. After the bogey on No. 2, it was smooth sailing for the Canadian, who has all but locked up her spot in Stage II.
"I felt very confident heading into Stage 1. My game has been trending in the right direction all year, and I had the opportunity to play in an LPGA event over the summer, which definitely gave me a lot of confidence," said Grewal. "My game plan has been to stay present and play smart golf. I think my mental game has been the best part of my game this week. I've stayed very present and have stayed in the moment all week."
Harriet Lynch was at the top of the leaderboard after the morning wave, posting her third round in the 60s. The three-under 69 moved Lynch up just a few spots, but sitting at ten-under for the tournament gives her some breathing room going into her last round. The Englishwoman earned All-Mountain West honors in her senior season at Fresno State University, earning multiple top-5 finishes throughout the year. Now, heading into the final round of Stage I, Lynch's confidence is at an all-time high, and it is showing.
"It feels really good to be near the top of the leaderboard. I am so grateful to be in this position and compete with the best," said Lynch. "These three rounds have given me confidence going into tomorrow; however, I know that I still have one more round to play, and I am going to give it my all. Going into this week, there were a lot of "what ifs," some positive, some negative, but I knew I had to trust my game as I have put a lot of work in to be where I am today."
Mim Sangkapong signed for one the lowest rounds of Stage I so far when she turned in a bogey-free nine-under 63 on the Arnold Palmer Course. Sangkapong was right on the cut line heading into the third round after back-to-back 73s. She will now be one of the last players to tee off in the final round, thanks to an eagle and seven birdies. The Thailand native was even in shock at her score after the round, and she knew it was a big team effort.
"It feels very good to shoot that low and kind of unreal to me," said Sangkapong. "My caddy, Phil, he is helping me a lot throughout the course management this week. Today, we just kept the momentum going, as we mentioned before the round. I just kept telling myself to stay patient all day, just do what I could do, and let things fall where they way. Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance for me. Same thing as we planned in the past three days; just be patient, and good things will come to you."
Rachel Stous (+1, T99) on making the cut after an opening seven under round:
"I didn't get off to the start I wanted in my first round. I shot seven over. The next two days I just started to play aggressive over the next two days, and it worked out. I was in much better position off the tee and hit better irons as well. I was rolling it on the greens well, too. So overall, everything was just kind of clicking, and I played really well."
Amanda Kim (E, T76) on getting inside the cutline after not breaking par in her first two rounds:
"I feel satisfied with my round. Honestly, I didn't really think about the cutline. My ball striking has been good for three days, so I knew I will get a good round in. My thought process has been the same since day one, hit the fairway and then the green. Just very simple thoughts. Donnie Fauquier, my caddie, has kept me in the moment, which was very beneficial to my mental game."