RYU’S 67 NETS 54-HOLE LEAD AT KPMG WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
So Yeon Ryu cast aside mid-90s temps and a triple-digit heat index at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois, to post a third-round 67 and leads the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship by three shots over 2016 Champion Brooke Henderson. Ryu answered her own bogey on the 3rd hole with six birdies to finish the 67, which matches her best single round in seven KPMG Women’s PGA Championship appearances. Only four players are within six shots of Ryu, but two are major champions (Henderson, Sung Hyun Park).
The 14th hole was not only pivotal today, it has proved to be a tale of two holes for So Yeon Ryu and Brooke Henderson, who are first and second, respectively, on the leaderboard after three rounds. Ryu’s birdie on No. 14 today was her third on the hole in as many days and moved her into a tie for the lead. Henderson, meanwhile, three-putted from 8 feet for bogey on the same hole. Henderson has a par and two bogeys on 14 this week.
MORE: Full scores
HOW ABOUT A PERFECT MONTH OF JUNE IN THE 60s?
On Saturday at Kemper Lakes, for the 10th consecutive round, So Yeon Ryu (69-69-67) posted a round in the 60s. Ryu’s cards at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (67-69-68) and Meijer LPGA Classic (64-67-69-67) never bled into the 70s. Her last competitive non-60 came May 31, via a closing 75 in the U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek.
MAJOR, MAJOR NEWS ON THE HORIZON?
Ryu is a two-time major winner, having won the 2017 ANA Inspiration and the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. If Ryu can seize her third major championship tomorrow, she’d become the first LPGA player to win a major in consecutive seasons since Lydia Ko (2015 Evian Championship, 2016 ANA Inspiration) and In Gee Chun (2015 U.S. Women’s Open, 2016 Evian Championship) did so in 2015 and 2016.
CO- & CO- IN TOP THREE ENTERING FINAL ROUND
So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park, who shared Rolex Player of the Year honors in 2017, occupy the first (Ryu) and third (Park) slots on the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship leaderboard.
RELATED: Photos from Day 3
If Brooke Henderson can claim her second KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory in three years Sunday, she’d join a trio of World Golf Hall-of-Famers whose initial two major championship wins came in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (formerly known as the LPGA Championship): Sandra Haynie (1965, 1974), Nancy Lopez (1978, 1985) and Patty Sheehan (1983, ’84). She faces a three-shot deficit. Henderson entered the final round in 2016 two shots off the pace, yet rebounded to win her lone major to date.
Brooke Henderson will also be playing for a slice of Canadian golf history on Sunday. If she were to win this Championship for the second time in three years, she’d become the first Canadian golfer – man or woman – to win multiple major championships. To date, the only Canadians to win golf majors are Sandra Post (1968 LPGA Championship) and Mike Weir (2003 Masters).
With a victory on Sunday, Brooke Henderson would become the 15th multi-time winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She would join Mickey Wright, Inbee Park, Annika Sorenstam, Patty Sheehan, Juli Inkster, Laura Davies and Donna Caponi to claim at least two Championships over a three-year stretch.
If So Yeon Ryu is able to capture the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, history suggests it may come in the form of a playoff. Both of Ryu’s major championship victories went extra holes: 2011 U.S. Women’s Open (Hee Kyung Seo) and 2017 ANA Inspiration (Lexi Thompson).
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has gone to a playoff 12 times, most recently in 2016 when Brooke Henderson defeated Lydia Ko on the first hole. In the event there is a tie at the end of 72 holes on Sunday, the sudden-death playoff format will start on 18, then 16, 17 and 18, if necessary.
MORE: A look at Ryu's dominance
TEE TIMES MOVED UP
After close consultation with our weather forecasters, Sunday's final round starting times for the 2018 KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be split, in groups of 3, off No. 1 and No. 10 tees from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. local.
Sunday's final round will be streamed live via NBC Sports and Golf Channel apps and digital platforms from 12:45 – 3:45 p.m. (EDT).
NBC will broadcast live play of the 2018 KPMG Women's PGA Championship within its originally scheduled window starting at 3:00 p.m. (EDT). Additionally, NBC Sports will provide recap coverage from Kemper Lakes through 6:00 p.m. (EDT).
PLAYING MARKER ROLE INVALUABLE FOR WHALEY
For the second time in four years, Suzy Whaley of Cromwell, Connecticut, got a chance to play inside the ropes at a KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. And it couldn’t have happened at a better time for the PGA of America Vice President. She qualified two weeks ago to compete in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, July 12-15, at Chicago Golf Club – just 28 miles away in Wheaton, Illinois.
With an odd-numbered field (73) set for twosomes Saturday, that meant Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras was temporarily without a playing partner. Whaley received a call Friday night at 10 p.m., inviting her to serve as a Playing Marker for the third round. She last was a Playing Marker in the third round of the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club. Whaley had the opportunity learn more about what the world-class field is facing this week at Kemper Lakes Golf Club.
“I think (Chief Championships Officer) Kerry Haigh has got it set up super fair. It is long, but it’s fair,” said Whaley. “I think they like the challenge. This is a major and it’s supposed to be challenging. They want the best player in the field this week to take home the title.
"For me to have the opportunity to challenge myself without the fear of score was great. Because I could get in some shots I’ve been working on for my tournament play the next couple weeks and see how that was inside the ropes. I know where my weaknesses were today. I know what I needed to work on.
“I’m looking forward to two weeks from now. The golf course certainly won’t be the same yardage. It will be shorter, but pressure is pressure and it’s also a major.”
The PGA of America announced today that Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, will host two of its pillar championships: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2023 and the PGA Championship in 2029.