11 Oct 2020 | Professional golf |
Aussie title hopes fizzle
by Mark Hayes
There’ll be no Australian name on this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship trophy.
Hannah Green’s title defence is all but officially finished after today’s third round at Aronimink, near Philadelphia.
But in a rare flat day for the Aussie contingent on the LPGA Tour, she was joined by both Katherine Kirk and Minjee Lee in taking a few steps down the leaderboard and out of contention.
As there has been virtually all week on this highly praised layout that is hosting its first women’s major championship, there remains only 10 people under par.
That leader Sei Young Kim (-7) and previous major winners Brooke Henderson (-5), Anna Nordqvist (-5) and Inbee Park (-4) are so far into the red is testament to their skill and resilience.
And sadly, they won’t be challenged in tomorrow’s final round by an Australian. Green, who began today on the 10th hole, lost much of the ground she’d bravely regained in the second round with three bogeys before the turn.
The Perth ace fought hard and closed with two birdies in her final three holes for a two-over-par 72, dropping her to seven over in total.
Kirk also ceded momentum with three early bogeys on the back nine and could manage just one birdie in her 74 that left her at 10 over.
Arguably the biggest surprise was from Minjee Lee. The young West Australian looked set for a trademark charge when she birdied the 11th (her second hole) to reach three over.
But four bogeys in succession followed, then another four early on the front nine and the world No.6 fell all the way back to 11 over and will find herself in extremely unfamiliar territory in round four’s first group out.
At the other end of the field, Kim, whose best previous major performance was as runner-up in this tournament in 2015, has had no trouble making birdies.
Remarkably, as others battle to find them, she has made 13 in her past 30 holes in a stretch that has taken her from three over to the summit of the leaderboard.
Possibly her biggest threat is from the calibre of player in the chasing pack with her three nearest rivals having combined for 10 major crowns.
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