ADELAIDE: South Korea’s Jenny Shin, Japan’s Haru Nomura and American Danielle Kang shared the lead on Saturday heading into the final round of the LPGA-sanctioned Australian Open at The Grange in Adelaide.
The trio are on nine-under 207 just ahead of world No.1 Lydia Ko and Australia’s five-time winner Karrie Webb after 54 holes.
Shin, the American-based Korean seeking her first-ever LPGA Tour win, bogeyed the last hole with a three-putt or she would have been the outright leader.
Shin carded a two-under 70, along with Nomura, while Kang fired a five-under 67.
Nomura, 23, birdied the last hole to get herself into Sunday’s final group.
Poised for the final charge assault are Ko and Webb, just one shot off the pace.
Webb teetered on the edge of disaster when she over-hit a chip at the 18th hole only to roll the putt in to save par and post eight-under par overall.
Webb said it was a “huge momentum putt going into tomorrow”.
“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,” Webb said.
Ko, the relentless Kiwi, birdied the first four holes and threatened to take over the tournament and finished with a 68. She was pleased to find a score in the 60s for the first time at The Grange.
“It’s going to be fun tomorrow, obviously in the final groups there might be a bit more tension, but I’m going to try and enjoy it,” she said.
The field condensed on Saturday as 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 imploded with a 78 and is out of contention.
There are 18 players within four shots on a packed leaderboard.