Women's British Open: Day three notebook
-4 Inbee Park
-3 Suzanne Pettersen
Sun Ju Ahn
-2 Amelia Lewis
Park leads the way after day three
Twelve months ago Inbee Park arrived in St Andrews having won the year’s first three Majors. This time around it has all been a lot more low key – the Korean actually went nearly a year without a victory until winning in Canada last month.
Now she is sitting perfectly placed at -4 after a 68 that should have been one better after missing a short one at the last.
The Korean isn’t using the putter that carried out the Major demolition last year but is seemingly satisfied with the replacement.
“I like to try different putters when it’s not working, refresh my mind. I just wanted to have something new and fresh. I’m missing short ones but I’m holing 10-15 footers. So I’m trying to avoid three-putting and I’m in good shape.”
Two-shot penalty for Ahn
When Sun Ju Ahn putted out at the 18th she thought she had just played herself into a one-shot lead. Shortly after her greenside bunker shot at the last was reviewed on tape by the referees and it was decided that she had ‘built a stance’ and was duly penalised two shots.
What would have been a par became a seven and the 69 a 71. Ahn had birdied three of the previous five holes.
“It’s disappointing but it’s my mistake and something that I have to follow the rules of the game. I didn’t know about the rule but all I was trying to do was make a stance. I’m surprised by it but that’s the rule.
“After the review it was determined that I used my feet to try to make an even lie. I’ll have to sleep over it and find out tomorrow whether it’s going to motivate me or not.”
If you’re not familiar with the Korean then here’s her bio in a nutshell. She is the World No 21, has 23 wins around the world (16 in Japan, seven in Korea) and is 26.
She qualified for Birkdale through the Japanese Money List.
Pettersen carrying the European charge
Suzanne Pettersen has an LPGA and Evian Major to her name. On Sunday the World No 4 will start the final round one shot shy of Inbee Park and in with a great chance of a first WBO title.
Until last year the Norwegian had failed to break into the top 10 in the British Major but she is back and feeling good about her game after a year plagued by back problems.
“There’s definitely a little bit of wanting to try and win all five Majors by the time my career is over. I feel like my game is suitable for all different courses and I’ve been playing well for three days now.
“I got on a nice run and had a couple of hiccups, mostly on putting but finished strong with eagle and birdie. It’s been a tough year but now I have no pain and I’m looking forward.”
There ain’t nothing like a Dame
Laura Davies – winner here in 1986 and the oldest player in the field – continued to poke fun at the aging process, adding a second successive 72 to sit on three over.
The 50-year-old, who is second this week for driving distance, dropped three shots at the first two holes but birdies at all four of the par 5s meant she remained in good shape for her best Major finish in years.
"I didn’t know about the rule but all I was trying to do was make a stance" – Sun Ju Ahn
1st hole still playing tricks
Over the first two days the opening hole has proved to be the trickiest and on Saturday little changed. Solheim Cup player Giulia Sergas was the biggest victim, taking nine on the par 4, a hole where Lexi Thompson had found double figures on Friday.
A gaping fairway bunker pushes the tee shots right and, from there, an approach with a hybrid or 3-wood is left. Hats off to the pairings of Rikao Morita and Alison Walshe in the fourth group out, and two pairings later, Mika Miyazato and Austin Ernst, who all opened with birdies.
Over the first two rounds it averaged 4.750.
Day three gallery
Hall still in with a shout
The leading amateur prize remains up for grabs with England’s Georgia Hall just two shots behind US Amateur champion Emma Talley.
Talley, part of the victorious Curtis Cup side that beat GB&I and Hall, was round in 76 to sit on +5 while Hall birdied the 18th, her sole red figure, for a 78.
Last year Hall tied with Lydia Ko but missed the prizegiving after being told that she had missed out on a countback.