Danielle Kang, Haru Nomura and Jenny Shin are tied for the lead at nine-under entering the ﬁnal round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
“I think that this golf course puts so many diﬀerent types of game into play,” Kang said. “There’s a lot of good people on the leader board. Everyone is right there so you’ve just got to go out and see what happens. Be patient and play your game.”
Jenny Shin held the lead for a majority of the day before closing with a bogey at the 18th to fall into a share of the lead with Nomura and Kang.
“I deﬁnitely played better than yesterday,” Shin said. “The score looks the same but playing-wise I did a little bit better, I didn’t hit it into too many bad ones like I did the last few days. I misread a lot of the putts today. I feel like I could have scored a little bit better. I did a good job on the greens but I’m pretty content.”
Nomura had the opposite ﬁnish to end the day making a birdie at the last to ﬁnd herself in the ﬁnal group with Kang.
“I was calm today and if I can do that tomorrow, I’ll be ﬁne,” Nomura said.
The trio, who are all looking for their ﬁrst victories, will be looking to hold oﬀ a pair of greats in Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and defending champion Lydia Ko, who each sit a shot back at eight-under par.
Webb is positioned to launch at a sixth national championship after a blanket finish to the third round at The Grange in Adelaide.
Webb teetered on the edge of disaster when her chip to the par-four 18th hole shot past the cup, but summoning the competitive drive that has characterised her 20-year career at the top of the women’s game, she rolled in the putt to save par to remain eight under.
In the ABC television commentary box beside the 18th green, world No.1 Lydia Ko cheered the long putt home as the 41-year-old Webb fist-pumped. “That’s why she’s a legend,” said Ko, who is also just a shot back from the lead going into the final round.
Webb later suggested it was a “huge momentum putt going into tomorrow”.
Webb isn’t the only Aussie in the hunt, with Victorian Stacey Keating at six-under after her third consecutive round of 70. Perth’s Minjee Lee shared the day’s best round of 67 to charge back up to four-under, but a double-bogey on the 16th likely cost her a shot at the title.
But most Aussie eyes will fall on Webb, who said her experience could be a factor. “I’m not sure my name means the same on a leaderboard as perhaps it did a little while ago, but I think most people respect the fact that I know how to win, and that if I’m up there with a few holes to go I probably might have a good crack at it,” she said.
Nerves will play a part though, which she acknowledged. “If I wasn’t nervous about having a chance to win a golf tournament, let alone the Australian Open, then I probably shouldn’t be sitting in this chair, so it’s like an excited nervous I guess.
“It’s been quite a while since I gave myself a chance to win on Sunday and a legitimate chance, so you know I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
The field condensed in the third round because the overnight leaders — Scotland’s Catriona Matthew and England’s Holly Clyburn — both gave back shots to par. Veteran Matthew struggled to a 73 but was consoled by the fact she had “not played myself out of it”. Clyburn had a 78 and is out of contention.
Ko had a 68 and was pleased to find a score in the 60s for the first time at The Grange. “It’s going to be fun, I’ll try to enjoy it, obviously in the final groups there might be a bit more tension, but I’m going to try and enjoy it,” she said. “All the girls are lovely; it’s not like there’s going to be sparks going on!”