Overnight leader Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan recovered from an opening bogey to shoot an even-par 72 in round 3 of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship to share the lead with American Nelly Korda, who carded an impressive 69 in a day with sporadic swirling winds.
Both players, currently tied at nine-under 207 for the tournament, will be vying for their first LPGA win tomorrow at Ta Shee Golf & Country Club, which is playing host to the eighth edition of the LPGA Taiwan Championship for the first time. Hometown heroine Yani Tseng won the inaugural tournament in 2011.
Hsu, who started the round with a one-shot lead, quickly relinquished her lead after an awkward chip shot around the green which led to a bogey. However, she quickly settled down and made birdies at the sixth and ninth hole to pull ahead.
"I was a bit nervous after I bogeyed the first hole. But then I told myself to calm down and be patient, trying not to let it bother me," said Hsu, who finished second in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic back in January this year, her best result to date on the LPGA tour.
Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan is tied for the lead with American Nelly Korda with a three-round aggregate score of 207.
Facing swirling winds and challenges mounted by playing mates Lydia Ko and first-round leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff as well as Korda in the group before them, Hsu escaped unscathed at 16 after putting her tee shot in the water. "I hit my 3-wood too solid and unfortunately the ball carried too far and rolled into the hazard," said Hsu.
After taking a penalty shot, Hsu hit an 8-iron to send the ball to the fringe of the green. From there, she then made a dramatic 18-foot putt to save par and share the lead with Korda, who just birdied the 17th hole with a precise iron shot into the green. "That shot was play of the day for me; I felt like I made a birdie!" exclaimed Hsu.
Korda, on the other hand, made a move right out of the gate from the first hole with three birdies and one bogey on the front nine to charge up the leaderboard. She followed up with two more birdies against only one bogey on her back nine.
"I think I've been just really hitting it solid off the tee, hitting greens. If I don't hit greens, I don't leave myself in really awful positions," said the 20-year-old in her second season on the LPGA tour. Korda has had five top-10 finishes so far this season, including a tied-for-second finish at the HSBC Women's World Championship.
Asked how she feels about the final round, Korda said " I think I'll definitely be a little nervous. Anyone who is in contention on a Sunday will obviously feel those types of feelings. But I'll also be excited and just happy to be in that position." Korda revealed that she will call her sister Jessica, a five-time winner on the LPGA tour, to get some tips tonight on how to handle the pressure.
Wei-Ling Hsu’s main rival for the championship trophy Nelly Korda says she will try her best to compete with Hsu tomorrow.
15-time LPGA tour winner Lydia Ko fired an even-par 72 today to finish at seven-under for the tournament and a five-way tie for third with Shadoff, Megan Khang of USA, Jin Young Ko of Korea and Englishwoman Bronte Law.
Meanwhile, Teresa Lu, the highest-ranked Taiwanese player in the Rolex Rankings, shot a 71 today to tie for 16th, eight shots behind the co-leaders. "Overall I am happy with my score today because it was tough out there and some of the pin positions were really challenging," said Lu, who said she felt more comfortable with her putting on the greens today.
Teresa Lu, the highest ranked Taiwanese player, cards a one-under 71 today for a three-day aggregate score of 215. Aside from Wei-Ling Hsu, Lu is placed higher than all participating Taiwanese players in the standings.
Final round will start from 8:00 AM tomorrow, and the leading group will tee off from the first hole at 10:23 AM. In an effort to encourage more fans to come to the golf course, organizers have prepared a lucky draw at the conclusion of the award ceremony, offering various awards ranging from a 50-inch TV set, a Gogoro 2 Plus electric motorcycle, an iPhone XS and a Rimowa suitcase, etc.
Tickets for the 2018 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship are available for purchase on the ibon platform: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/pages/tickets. To make things easier for fans to cheer for their favourite players, free shuttle buses are scheduled to operate between Ta Shee Golf & Country Club and Taipei MRT Yongning Station. Organizers have also set aside a variety of amenities including public catering, public lounge and spectators interactive areas throughout the golf course.
Daily live telecast will be provided by FTV, FTV News Channel, Hami Video and Chunghwa Telecom MOD between 12:00 noon and 4 PM. For more information, please visit the official tournament website: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/?locale=tw