13 Aug 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussie hopes fade at AIG Women’s Open

by Tony Webeck

Minjee Lee AIG Women's Open Round 3
Minjee Lee tumbled down the leaderboard on day three of the AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath Golf Club. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Australia’s last hope to crown a major champion in 2023 has faded on an enthralling third day at the AIG Women’s Open in London.

American Ally Ewing’s five-stroke overnight lead had evaporated before she made the turn, local favourite Charley Hull (68) and American Lilia Vu (67) sharing the 54-hole lead at 9-under par at Walton Heath Golf Club.

Runner-up at the Chevron Championship earlier this year, Angel Yin (67) is in a tie for third with Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim (68) as Ewing (75) dropped to outright fifth and now two strokes off the lead.

The last two Aussies in the field also went backwards on moving day.

Tied for ninth at the start of Round 3, Minjee Lee had bogeys at three of her opening four holes in a round of 3-over 75, falling to a tie for 28th and nine strokes from the leaders.

For a player who made up seven shots to win her maiden major at the Amundi Evian Championship two years ago, even that may be a bridge too far.

Rookie Squad member Grace Kim was even par through 14 holes of her third round but dropped shots at holes 15 and 18 for a round of 2-over 74.

Kim will start the final round in a tie for 35th and 1-over for the championship.

Despite having set the pace over the first two days, Ewing enjoyed relative anonymity as huge crowds followed home favourite Hull in the group ahead of her.

The fans roared in Hull’s birdie on the first but were left groaning on the second as she immediately bogeyed, though she stayed in consistent form and picked up birdies at 8 – secured courtesy of a wonderful approach – and 11 for the third consecutive round to build her momentum.

Hull kept up the pressure with a fine par save on the 13th having found the rough and the bogey that followed was the catalyst for her to find top gear once more.

Three birdies in a row sent her flying up the leaderboard and she had time for a final flourish on the 18th, recovering from finding the heather with her tee shot to land only a few feet from the hole with a chip from just off the green, tapping in for par to round off a fine 68.

Hull has come close to a major before, finishing tied-second behind Allisen Corpuz at Pebble Beach at the US Women’s Open this year, but will now head into the final day with a share of the lead for the first time as she looks to follow in Georgia Hall’s footsteps by becoming an English winner of the AIG Women’s Open.

Round 3 scores T1 Lilia Vu 72-68-67—207 T1 Charley Hull 71-68-68—207 T28 Minjee Lee 72-69-75—216 T35 Grace Kim 71-72-74—217

Final round tee times AEST 7.55pm Grace Kim, Ruoning Yin 8.40pm Minjee Lee, Emily Kristine Pedersen

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