It’s been more than three years since Korea’s In Gee Chun captured an LPGA Tour title. She’s now within 18 holes of breaking that drought, carding a bogey-free 66 on Saturday in Singapore and jumping to the top of the HSBC Women’s World Championship leaderboard at -12.
|1||In Gee Chun||-12||70-68-66|
|T2||Jin Young Ko||-11||69-67-69|
“I tried to make good focus on the putting green because I have spasm in my neck, so I didn’t try to hit hard,” said Chun, who tweaked a muscle in her neck during Thursday’s first round and contemplated withdrawing. “I think it went really well on the putting green, and then I could really bring the greens really well. That’s how I made a good score today.”
Chun is a three-time LPGA Tour winner, last hoisting a trophy at the 2018 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in her home country. Her first two career victories were major titles at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2016 Amundi Evian Championship.
Chun’s countrywomen Jin Young Ko and Jeongeun Lee6 are hot on her heels, one stroke behind in a tie for second at -11. Ko’s third-round 69 was her 14th consecutive round in the 60s, which ties the all-time record she already holds with Annika Sorenstam and So Yeon Ryu. For the first time, Ko admitted to feeling some stress about matching her record. “It was a tough round because I had a lot of opportunities for birdies in the front nine, but I missed a lot of putts and then missed some chips,” she said. “I finished even on the front nine, and I really tried to make three birdies more on the back nine, but it wasn’t really helped. And I had a little pressure for the record, but I made it.”
Lee6 shot Saturday’s low round of the day, a 7-under 65 that included a chip-in eagle at No. 13 and six birdies in her first seven holes. “I’m very satisfied with my results,” said Lee6. “My swing is getting better these days. So I played comfortably.”
Sitting tied for fourth at -9 are American Danielle Kang, Korea’s Amy Yang and Thai teen Atthaya Thitikul. Canada’s Brooke Henderson is solo seventh at -8, followed by Australian Hannah Green and Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn tied for eighth at -7.
WITH A WIN
In Gee Chun would earn her fourth career LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2018 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
Jeongeun Lee6 would earn her second career LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open
Jin Young Ko would earn her 13th career LPGA Tour victory and sixth in her last 10 LPGA Tour starts
With the $255,000 winner’s check, Jin Young Ko would pass Laura Davies for 25th on the All-Time LPGA Tour Earnings list with $9,358,540
IN GEE CHUN – FROM NEAR WITHDRAWAL TO FIRST PLACE
For a few minutes in Thursday’s first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship, In Gee Chun seriously thought about withdrawing. Her neck started spasming midway through the round, sending the two-time major champion calling for the on-site physio, unable to take a full swing. After a lot of stretching – and more than a few Advils – Chun fought through the pain and jumped to the top of the leaderboard through three rounds in Singapore.
“That’s why golf is so much fun,” she said. “I almost got withdraw, and then now I made a good score and made a bogey-free round today.”
What perspective. As is often said – beware the injured golfer.
“I’m so happy because I made incredible swing today, and it was not much hurt,” said Chun. “So that’s why I feel like tomorrow going to be really good.”