It’s a packed leaderboard with 54 holes at the first ISPS Handa World Invitational, presented by Modest! Golf Management as 12 participants sit within five strokes of the guide shared by Emma Talley, Jennifer Kupcho and Pajaree Anannarukarn. Each co-leader in Northern Ireland is 13 under par.
Anannarukarn shot the low score of the third round – and got this week’s low score – with seven birdies and an eagle for 7-under 66 at Galgorm Golf Club. Her performance marks the first time in her three-year LPGA Tour career that Anannarukarn has held or shared the 54-hole lead.
“I feel like I should have made par 8 if this hole wasn’t bogey. I wanted to get it back, ”said Anannarukarn, who went from 9-17 to 7 under par over a nine-hole course. “It’s golf. I did my best in this shot and should accept the result. I told myself it happened. Just concentrate on your game, try to get a lot of good shots and give yourself chances, then you will be in a good position. “
Kupcho, the national amateur champion of Augusta 2019, signed for a 3-under 70 on Saturday. The performance consisted of five birdies, including a final pair on numbers 17 and 18 to crown their third round.
Since the beginning of the performance tracking, Kupcho has had an advantage over the field. On approach strokes from 150 to 175 meters, Wake Forest University’s proximity to the hole (33 feet 6 inches) is nearly nine feet closer than the tour average (42 feet 2 inches). She hopes to continue the trend tomorrow, lifting her first trophy at the LPGA.
“The batting was a little wrong today, you have to find out,” said Kupcho. “Just stay in and concentrate on my own game [is the gameplan]to come out with the score that I want to shoot instead of playing against someone else because I can’t control what someone else is doing. Go out and play my own game. “
The last group will be rounded off at starting place No. 1 tomorrow at 12:34 p.m. local time, Talley even made it straight away on the day of the move to stay in the competition. Like Anannarukarn and Kupcho, she strives to become a Rolex First Time Winner. Meanwhile, the last American player to celebrate her first career win in Europe was Mo Martin at the 2014 AIG Women’s Open, an achievement Talley and Kupcho hope to see.
“I think I just play like the first two days, really didn’t play well today,” said Talley, who hit seven of 14 fairways. “I really didn’t like the way I hit the ball, especially from the tee. You can probably look at the stats, maybe only hit four fairways. I am putt so well at the moment that if I can hit the fairways and greens, I’ll hit a little better than today, I don’t think anyone can catch me. “
One stroke back to the top in fourth place is Chella Choi. The 2015 LPGA Classic Marathon presented by Dana Champion managed a bogey-free performance with two birdies for a third round 71 in Galgorm.
“I got pretty good shots, but not that many birdies,” said Choi. “If I missed a shot, I was really good at up and down. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the last group or in the front. I know my recordings and I really enjoy Northern Ireland. I feel very much at home here and look forward to playing. “
Ladies European Tour member Atthaya Thitikul (70) is solo fifth with 10 under par. In sixth place are Su Oh and Wichanee Meechai with -9, while five players have 8-under for the tournament. Four players in the 2021 LPGA season have come back to win from four or more shots in the finals, most recently Minjee Lee at the Amundi Evian Championship when she was seven behind.
In the men’s draw, the Englishman Jordan Smith is with a lead of -15 in the overall standings after a 5-under 65 on Saturday in Galgorm. A total of 40 women and 41 men made the cut of the third round of 4 under par in each of the respective tournaments. The final round will again be held in Galgorm.
WITH A PROFIT …
LPGA Tour members Pajaree Anannarukarn, Jennifer Kupcho or Emma Talley would become Rolex First Time Winners, the fifth of the 2021 LPGA Tour season.
Chella Choi would win a second LPGA win and the first since the 2015 Marathon Classic presented by Dana.
Kupcho would take her second professional career win (she won the 2020 Colorado Women’s Open).
Talley would secure her first LPGA Tour win in her 90th career start.
Talley or Kupcho would be the fifth American to win the LPGA Tour this season.
Atthaya Thitikul, a non-member, would also become a Rolex first-time winner if she accepted membership of the LPGA Tour immediately after winning.
Anannarukarn or Thitikul would be the fourth Thai to win the LPGA Tour this season.
Anannarukarn or Thitikul would be the fourth Thai in history to win on the LPGA, along with Jasmine Suwannapura, Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn and Patty Tavatanakit.