By Tony Webeck
West Australian Hannah Green will take an aggressive mindset into the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship after narrowing the gap to the top on day three at Congressional Country Club.
With the temperature pushing up towards 32 degrees, the Blue Course drying out and challenging pin placements, only two of the 71 players to make the cut broke 70 on Saturday.
Korean In Gee Chun somewhat came back to the field, her third round of three-over 75 including a double-bogey at 16 yet still enough to maintain a three-shot advantage at eight-under from Hye-Jon Choi (70), Lexi Thompson (70) and Sei Young Kim (71).Green had three birdies and three bogeys in her round of even-par 72 to be fifth at four-under and four strokes off the lead.
US Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee (73) is six back as Stephanie Kyriacou moved into the top 20 on the leaderboard with her third straight 72.
The champion at Hazeltine in 2019, Green said the combination of major championship pressure and the forecast of high temperatures again on Sunday will present the complete test.
“Today and yesterday I experienced a lot of half shots, so it was hard to commit to that club,” Green explained.
“Dealing with that and then dealing with the heat and just getting tired because it’s Sunday of a major, it’s hard.
“It’s what we have to deal with, but everyone is going through that same thing, so we just see who comes out on top.”
A birdie at three was the ideal start to Green’s third round but the 25-year-old gave that shot back two holes later with a bogey at five.
A birdie at the par-5 sixth was the perfect response and a delicate pitch to five feet at the short par-4 eighth got Green back to two-under on her round.
She was unable to get up-and-down after missing the green at the par-3 10th and then made seven consecutive pars before a bogey at the difficult par-4 18th.
“I felt like I putted really well again, which was nice,” Green said.
“Made some good momentum putts, but also leaked a couple of shots and made some soft bogeys, but that happens at majors.
“I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow.
“Hard to know how it’s going to react on the greens because you expect the greens to get a little bit firmer, which they did today.
“Hopefully I can keep hitting fairways, hit a lot more greens than I did today, and continue to make some putts.”
Bogeys at both of her two opening holes put Minjee Lee on the back foot early as she sought to make ground on the leaders.
Three-over through 10 holes, back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 and a third from 12 feet at the par-5 16th getting her back to even par before she too dropped a shot at the last.
It was a roller-coaster round too for Kyriacou as she seeks to better her best finish in a major, a tie for 13th at last year’s AIG Women’s Open.
An outward nine of one-under 35 had the 21-year-old in red numbers for the championship but a wild finish saw her finish square for the third day running.
A bogey at 15 was followed by a double at the par-5 16th, two closing birdies providing for a scorecard that didn’t tell the full story.
It was a far less dramatic 72 for Sarah Kemp, who had three birdies and three bogeys for her best round of the championship to date.
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Round 3 scores
5 Hannah Green 71-69-72—212
T10 Minjee Lee 73-68-73—214