Some Sei Young Kim magic has all but dashed Katherine Kirk’s title defence, but the Australian surged back towards the top of the leaderboard late on day three of the Thornberry Classic in Wisconsin.
After equalling the course record on day one, Kirk didn’t play badly for the next 27 holes, but, like the rest of the field, had to watch in awe as Korean Kim set a torrid and potentially record pace.
Kim has remarkably carded rounds of 63-65-64 to sit 24 under – a joint 54-hole record with Annika Sorenstam – to lead by eight with a round to play. A 68 or better tomorrow will establish a new LPGA Tour record to par.
But behind her, Kirk is part of an intense battle, seemingly for second place. Having stagnated on or near her first-round 10-under total, the Queenslander found her spark again late in the third round, with four birdies in five holes from the 13th to roar up to 14 under, two behind Amy Yang who has no fewer than 24 people within four shots and in hot pursuit of second place.
Perth’s Minjee Lee signed for another 69 to move up to 10 under, while another also took an important step up the leaderboard.
New South Welshwoman Rebecca Artis had slipped to 116th in the CME Globe standings, but fired a 68 to climb to a share of 41st at nine under and with high hopes for a closing round tomorrow that will help ensure her 2019 card is safe.
Artis opened with a bogey, but had six birdies by the 10th to right the ship.