Date: February 17, 2013
Author: Bruce Young /

Is this just a two horse race?

The Australian Women&aposs Open is set for a fascinating final day as, despite the gap between the two leaders, Jiyai Shin and Lydia Ko and the third placed Beatriz Recari, the battle between the leading pair promises to be a tournament in itself. While the chances of those other than the leaders are remote they can&apost be totally discounted. Already this week we have seen some very low scoring, none more so than the 63 by Ko, the 64 by Mariajo Uribe and the 65 by Shin early in the week and the 65 by Gwladys Nocera on day three, all indicating that a very low score is possible. There is little doubting that Royal Canberra provided a tougher test on day three with the wind a little stronger and the greens a little firmer. There is every indication that the really low scoring we saw early in the week will be hard to match but there is still the chance of a player from back in the field at least applying some pressure. Recari is six of the pace while the group at 9 under and eight off the pace is made up of players of sufficient class to suggest that if there is any chink in the armour of the leaders then at least one of them could creep close to the lead as the Championship reaches its concluding stages. Recari is a winner on the LPGA and Ladies European Tours, while the game&aposs number one female golfer, Yani Tseng, the winner of the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit in her rookie year, Carlota Ciganda, Thailand&aposs rising LPGA Tour star, Moriya Jutanugarn, 36 hole leader Mariajo Uribe and Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera all have the capacity to produce the sort of score required to move close to the lead. Whether they can do it today and whether their efforts will be enough to apply sufficient pressure to the tearaway leaders remains to be seen. One thing is for sure however is that if a player comes from back in the field to challenge or if the two leaders stretch their advantage even further the final round of the ISPS Handa Australian Women&aposs Open offers many story angles. The golfing world is watching to see if New Zealand&aposs golfing darling, Ko, can make it four professional victories in just thirteen starts. Jiyai Shin is slowly but surely regaining her place amongst the absolute elite of women&aposs golf after nearly two years as the world number one earlier in her career. While the crowd favourite is no doubt Lydia Ko because of her New Zealand connection and her precocious talent, either would be a popular winner but if a player is good enough to produce a round that would catch and pass them then the golfing world would applaud and say well done.