(Feature Photo by Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source)
By Kyle Galdeira
Just hours before O‘ahu was blasted with a series of thunderstorms, Brooke Henderson appeared ready to rain on the hopes of her competitors towards the end of the third round of the LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey at Ko Olina Golf Club Friday in ‘Ewa, O‘ahu.
However, after building a five-stroke lead with three holes to play, Henderson four-putted for double bogey on the par-3 16th, and bogeyed the par-4 18th hole to finish at 9-under par (207) through 54 holes. The Canadian leads Mo Martin (8-under) and both Nasa Hataoka and Inbee Park, who are two strokes off the lead, heading into what is expected to be a tightly-contested final round on Saturday.
“I hit it so well today that it kind of sucks to walk off the course 1 over (for the third round) when I know I could’ve been so much better,” said Henderson, who is in pursuit of her sixth career LPGA victory. “But, on the plus side, I’m still leading, which is always great going into the final round. Hopefully I can hit it just as well as I had and hopefully make a few more putts.”
Lizette Salas and Shanshan Feng, the top-ranked golfer in the world out of China who has held the top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for 22 consecutive weeks, are tied for fifth place, and sit three strokes behind Henderson.
Local professional Michelle Wie carded a third-round mark of 69, and sits in a tie for 18th place with an overall mark of 214 (2-under). The LPGA tour veteran and Punahou product is still laboring to overcome a recent wrist injury and inner-ear ailment, and is expected to be followed by a large gallery for Saturday’s final round.
“I just tried to judge the distance out of the rough a lot better and stay patient today. Putting felt a lot better today, too, so hopefully tomorrow (I can) keep it going and make some more birdies,” Wie said. “I’m treating golf more like a game. I’m trying not to grind as much, just go out there and having fun.”
Saturday’s final-round action is slated to get underway at 7:04 a.m.
(Photos by Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source)