Date: February 24, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies take steps forward in Singapore

Australians Robyn Choi and Kirsty Hodgkins took big steps up the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship leaderboard in Singapore yesterday.

In a rain-interrupted third round at Sentosa, the US college-based pair completed their rounds and made ground on most to move inside the top 15 of the inaugural regional title with two major championship and another LPGA Tour start exemptions on the line.

While it’s unlikely either can challenge for those lofty prizes today after play resumes, the pair, both key parts of Queensland’s Interstate Series win in 2016, were very impressive, particularly in each firing three back-nine birdies to make their move.

They were among approximately half the field who completed their third round when bad light forced players from the course with play to resume this morning.

Korean Ayean Cho, 17, leads at seven-under in total through 14 holes, 10 strokes clear of Hodgkins (70) and Choi (69) at three over and T15.

Seven players are within three shots of Cho, with only New Zealand’s Wenyung Keh in the clubhouse among them after a fine 68 to leave her four under.

Of the other Australians to make the cut, Becky Kay also continued her march up the leaderboard, sitting at one under for her third round with two holes to complete. After a tough first-round run with her putter left the Gold Coaster in trouble after a 78, she’s been square since and is now into the top 30 at seven over.

Grace Kim (+5 through 16) and Julienne Soo (78) didn’t make any ground, sitting at 13 and 14 over, respectively.

Cho, twice a runner-up at the Australian Amateur Championship, was two under for the day, while Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, also playing in the final flight, was square and six under overall along with Japan’s Yuna Nishimura, who was playing in the second-last group and had three holes left to play and two under for the day.

Yuka Saso, the Philippines’ top-ranked amateur, made a major move with four birdies putting her four-under after 17 holes and five under overall, level with compatriot Lois Kaye Go, reigning Japan Women’s Amateur champion Yuka Yasuda and Korean Yunji Jeong, who all had yet to finish their rounds.

The winner will earn invitations to both the ANA Inspiration, the Women’s British Open and next week’s SBC Women’s World Championship, also at Sentosa Golf Club.