Minjee Lee Leads LPGA Volvik Championship After Three
Heading into Sunday, Minjee Lee leads the LPGA Volvik Championship on the strength of a four-under-par 68. Two shots behind are Stacy Lewis, In-Kyung Kim, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and Lindy Duncan. Emma Talley, Sei Young Kim, Su Oh, Bronte Law and Danielle Kang are three off the lead.
Duncan, Ewart Shadoff, Kim and Lee all shared the lead at various points on Saturday
The round was interrupted by a one hour and fifteen minute lightning delay. Play was suspended at 1:34 and resumed at 3:45.
Lee had a bogey free round of 68 and leads at 12-under. The Volvik Championship leader hit 10 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens. She averaged 253.5 yards on her drives and finished the round with 26 putts.
Lee finished second in 2018, one shot behind champion Shanshan Feng. A win would make her the first winner from Australia this season, making Australia the seventh country represented in the 2018 winner’s circle: 4, Republic of Korea; 3, United States; 2, Thailand; 1 Sweden; 1 Canada; 1 New Zealand. Those numbers are clear evidence that the LPGA is a global tour.
Although Lee was one of a handful of players to not have her round interrupted by the storm, she didn’t think it was an advantage.
I think it was pretty much the same for everyone because everybody warmed up again before they went out. Yeah, I don’t think it really gave me an advantage or anything.
Lee thought that the Travis Pointe was getting tougher:
I think the greens are getting a bit firmer, so my shots weren’t as good, I think. I mean, I hit a lot of greens and I had putts for birdie, but they weren’t super close, so I think just keeping it in play was pretty important today.
Mom-to-be Stacy Lewis made five birdies on the final six holes to record a five-under 67. Lewis climbed ten spots from a t12 at the start of the day. She said that she was tired, but otherwise felt as though she could still be competitive:
I feel good. I wouldn’t have said that about a month and a half ago, but I feel really good right now and just got a little hungry there at the end of the day. That delay kind of threw me off food-wise, but other than that I feel pretty good.
Lewis hit 10 of 14 fairways, and 12 of 18 greens. She averaged 271.5 yards on her drives and racked up 25 putts. She struggled at the beginning of the round, but finished strong:
At the start I wasn’t hitting it very good and just getting it up and down and birdied five of the last six. That definitely gets you in the hunt and gets you in the mix and that’s just what you have to do on this golf course is take advantage of the good shots and hang in there the rest of the way.
In-Kyung Kim shot a four under 67 on the strength of four straight birdies to open the round. In all, shet 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. The shortest driver among the leaders, Kim averaged just 247 yards. She finished the round with 21 putts.
I haven’t had three birdie in a row for a while. Was it four? That was exciting. And I make few three mistake on the way coming back home, but I had a great up-and-down on 15 and 16 from the bunker and I was able to birdie 17, but they moved the tee on 17 and 18, which I’ve never played, so it was kind of tricky, but yeah, it was fun.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot a three-under 69 to end up in the quartet of players at 206. A eagle on the par five fourth was the highlight of her round. In all, she hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. Her driving average was 263 yards. A total of 26 putts were required to seal the deal.
Ewart Shadoff thought her round was solid:
It was good, solid. I had a hole-out on No. 4 which really got my round going. But yeah, I holed some decent putts. I hit a couple of good drives and a couple of birdies coming in, so overall it was pretty decent.
Lindy Duncan’s third round was a three under 69, in which she hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens. Duncan’s driving average was 277 yards. In all, she totaled 22 putts.
The Duke alumnae’s best career finish is second at the 2018 Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, one stroke behind major champion Sung Hyun Park. A win would make her only the second Duke player to win on the LPGA (Brittany Lang is the other).
Duncan is competing in her third LPGA Volvik Championship. She finished T16 in 2017 and T11 in 2016. This would be her first LPGA title.
She though the key was the par fives on the front nine:
I would say that the front nine I feel like the par 5s there you can take advantage of them, it kind of gets your momentum going. And then there’s some holes where I felt like the pins were maybe a little tucked so just tried to play to the middle of the green and tried to make putts.
Play at the 2018 LPGA Volvik Championship resumes on Sunday. As a “make up” for the rain on Saturday, tickets from Saturday are good on Sunday as well. That’s a nice gesture from the LPGA Volvik Championship Organizers.