LPGA MEDIHEAL CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA NOTES: Sat, May 4
|1||Sei Young Kim||-10||72-66-68—206|
|T4||Five players tied||-4||212|
KIM PULLS THREE STROKES CLEAR AT LAKE MERCED
Sei Young Kim shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday and carries a three-stroke lead into the final round of the 2019 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship at -10. The 26-year-old from the Republic of Korea eagled the par-5 fifth to highlight a wind-swept round that also included three birdies and a lone bogey at her opening hole.
“I think today’s really cold during the tournament, so all the clubs were like five yards shorter than yesterday,” said Kim of battling the Bay Area’s famed chilly winds. “So it’s a little bit tough to judge the distance today but I tried to keep the focus on distance, how to make the right distance. Yeah, that’s helped me to a good score today.”
England’s Charley Hull, who last visited the winner’s circle at the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship, sits in second at -7. She enjoys the challenge presented by Lake Merced, which is known as one of the toughest courses on the LPGA Tour.
“I feel like it’s more of a challenge, not as much of a birdie fest,” said Hull, who has yet to record a top-10 finish in 2019. “When it’s a long, wide, or a short, wide golf course, it’s just a putt fest. People can hit fairways and people can hit greens. But all this time, like I’m pretty straight and I don’t really pull a lot of putts. I feel like this golf course really suits me.”
Maria Torres, the first LPGA Tour player from Puerto Rico, carded a 71 on Saturday to hold solo third. Torres is looking for just her third career top-10 finish and first of 2019. Five players are tied for fourth, including Rolex Rankings No. 2 and last week’s winner Minjee Lee and American favorite Lexi Thompson.
Kim (68), Lee (67), Thompson (69) and Kristen Gillman (69) were the only four players to record rounds in the 60s on Saturday. Third-round leader So Yeon Ryu shot a 79, her worst round since 2014, and plummeted to a tie for 20th.
TORRES NOT GETTING AHEAD OF HERSELF
As a shy rookie in 2018 prone to nervous giggles, Maria Torres found herself atop the leaderboard at The Evian Championship. Torres, the first player from Puerto Rico to earn a full LPGA Tour card, held the 18- and 36-hole leads at the major championship before closing with rounds of 72-75 on the weekend to fall to T26.
Through 54 holes at the 2019 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, Torres is again near the top of the leaderboard as she looks to chase down Sei Young Kim’s five-shot lead. Following her third consecutive under-par round at Lake Merced Golf Club on Saturday, Torres reflected on what she learned from her 2018 experience in France.
“It hurt so much,” Torres said. “It was a great experience the first two days, but I have to learn to not think ahead of myself and just take every day by day. I don’t know. It was — Friday [at Evian] was a long day. It was my hope to be here [in this position] again.”
After a string of three missed cuts in March and April, Torres is looking for her first top-20 finish of the season. She’s been working on hard on controlling her thoughts on the golf course and staying present.
“I just want to go out there and just play, try to putt,” said the University of Florida alumna. “Simple, take shot by shot and be patient.”
THOMPSON MAKES RUN UP LEADERBOARD
Early in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, it looked like Lexi Thompson was in danger of a second consecutive missed cut, opening the tournament with a 1-over 73. After dropping within a stroke of the cutline on Friday, the 24-year-old American star birdied three of her final five holes to reach the weekend at -1.
On Saturday, Thompson finally hit her stride at Lake Merced. She carded a 3-under 69 to jump from T21 to a tie for fourth heading into Sunday’s final round. The closing stretch truly seems to agree with Thompson, who has played the final four holes at -7 over her first three rounds.
“I think it’s just a great stretch of holes,” said Thompson. “15 is a reachable par 5 for basically everybody out here, so it’s definitely a good birdie opportunity. It’s overall just a great golf course. There’s challenging holes, but at the same time there’s some birdie holes out there.”
Thompson has earned at least one LPGA win in each of the last six seasons (2013-2018), the longest active streak on Tour.
WITH A WIN
Sei Young Kim would earn her eighth career victory and visit the winner’s circle for the fifth consecutive year
With her eighth career victory, Kim would tie Mi Hyun Kim for the fifth most wins by a Korean player in LPGA history; only Se Ri Pak (25), Inbee Park (19), Jiyai Shin (11) and Na Yeon Choi (9) have more wins
Kim would become the season’s fifth winner from the Republic of Korea, joining Eun-Hee Ji, Jin Young Ko, Sung Hyun Park and Amy Yang
With the $270,000 winner’s check, Kim would project to move from 44th to 41st on the All-Time Money List with $6,402,923
Charley Hull would earn her second career victory and first since the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship
With the $270,000 winner’s check, Hull would project to move from 116th to 108th on the All-Time Money List with $3,147,459 and become the 110th player to LPGA history to break the $3 million threshold in career earnings
Hull would become the fifth multiple LPGA Tour winner from England, joining Laura Davies (20), Alison Nicholas (4), Trish Johnson (3) and Karen Stupples (2)
Maria Torres would become the first LPGA Tour winner from Puerto Rico
Torres would become the season’s second Rolex First-Time Winner, joining Celine Boutier
Torres would become the sixth alumna of the Florida Gators women’s golf team to win on the LPGA Tour, joining Sandra Gal, Lori Garbacz, Deb Richard, Laurie Rinker and Donna White
Rolex Rankings No. 15 Sei Young Kim (72-66-68)
- She hit 7 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens
- Kim’s 54-hole score of 206 is her second-lowest mark of the 2019 LPGA season; she posted a 54-hole score of 203 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup where she finished T10
- This is the seventh time in her career she has held the 54-hole lead; she has three wins in her career when leading going into the fourth round
- Kim is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she has seven career victories, most recently at the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she set the LPGA’s 72-hole scoring record at 31-under 257
- This is Kim’s eighth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she finished second at last week’s HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open
- At the inaugural LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in 2018, she finished T37
- At the 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, a separate LPGA event held at Lake Merced Golf Club, Kim finished T9
- Kim represented the Republic of Korea at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where she finished T25
- She was the 2015 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year
Rolex Rankings No. 26 Charley Hull (69-70-70)
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens
- Only Hull and Maria Torres (69-71-71) have recorded three under-par rounds at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
- Hull’s 54-hole total of 209 is the best mark of her 2019 LPGA season
- Hull is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she has one career win at the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship
- She has two career wins on the Ladies European Tour, the 2019 Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open and the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup
- This is Hull’s ninth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her season-best finish was T12 at the ANA Inspiration
- At the inaugural LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in 2018, she finished T3
- Hull represented England at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where she finished T7
- Hull is a three-time Team Europe Solheim Cup member (2013, 2015, 2017), and represented Team England at the 2016 and 2018 UL International Crown
Rolex Rankings No. 124 Maria Torres (69-71-71)
- She hit 9 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens
- Only Torres and Charley Hull (69-70-70) have recorded three under-par rounds at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
- As a rookie in 2018, she recorded two top-10 results including a career-best T7 at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
- Torres was tied for the lead for the first two rounds at the 2018 Evian Championship where she recorded her career-best finish at a major, T26
- She missed the cut at the inaugural LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in 2018
- Finished sixth in the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings
- Torres, 24, from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, was a two-time All-American at the University of Florida and 2016 SEC Individual Champion
- Torres became the first woman from Puerto Rico to earn a full LPGA Tour card by winning a three-hole aggregate playoff to finish 20th at the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School in 2017
- Only Charley Hull (69-70-70) and Maria Torres (69-71-71) have recorded three under-par rounds at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
- Through three rounds, Lexi Thompson leads the field with 15 total birdies
- Through three rounds, Charley Hull’s three bogeys is the lowest total number of bogeys among the field
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 65 (-7) Ryann O’Toole, second round, 2019; He Yong Choi, second round, 2019
36 holes: 135 (-9), Jessica Korda, 2018
54 holes: 205 (-11), Lydia Ko, 2018
72 holes: 276 (-12), Lydia Ko, 2018; Minjee Lee, 2018
TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)
Sunday, May 5 – 6-9 p.m.