54-HOLE LEAD FOR GREEN
Hannah Green (70 on Saturday) has a one-shot lead over Ariya Jutanugarn after three rounds of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. Jutanugarn’s 68 on Saturday cut into what had been a three-shot lead for Green to not only begin the day, but after 16 holes. Jutanugarn birdied No. 17, before Green closed out her round with a three-putt bogey on 18, to provide the 54-hole margin. Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda are tied for third, four shots off Green’s pace. Ten players are within six shots of the lead.
Green carded three birdies on Hazeltine’s front nine, but her bogey on No. 13 was her first blemish in 30 holes. Despite hitting less than half of her fairways (six of 14), Green reached 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
GREEN MEANS GO
If Hannah Green can maintain her lead and claim victory on Sunday, she’d become just the third player to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship wire-to-wire (no ties). Only two players have accomplished this to date: Yani Tseng (2011) and Se Ri Pak (1998).
VIEW FROM THE TOP
Hannah Green has led after each of the first three rounds of the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Since joining the LPGA Tour full time last year, she’d only held the lead after one round: 65 in the first round of the 2019 HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open.
PLAYING FROM BEHIND
While Ariya Jutanugarn, 23, will be pushing for her third major championship on Sunday, she will be doing so from an unfamiliar position. During the two majors she won — the 2016 AIG Women's British Open and the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open — she led after 54 three rounds.
MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP CHALLENGE
While Hannah Green remains in search of her initial victory on the LPGA Tour, she is being pursued by four major champions, all of whom are within six shots of the lead: Ariya Jutanugarn (one shot back), Sung Hyun Park (five back), Inbee Park (six back) and Danielle Kang (six back).
Ariya (solo second) and Moriya (T-12) Jutanugarn enter Sunday in position to both finish inside the top 10 of the same major championship for the second time. They previously accomplished this at the 2018 ANA Inspiration, as Ariya and Moriya finished T-4 and T-6, respectively. The Korda sisters Jessica and Nelly, have yet to complete this dual top-10 feat in a major.
Only four players have registered three sub-par rounds through 54 holes at Hazeltine (par 72): Hannah Green (68-69-70), Ariya Jutanugarn (70-70-68), Defending Champion Sung Hyun Park (70-71-71) and Angel Yin (71-71-71).
SEI YOUNG GOES LOW, MOVES HIGH
Sei Young Kim carded a third-round, 5-under 67 to move 21 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth (211). Her 67 matches Jin Young Ko (second round) for the lowest round in this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Kim owns two top-four finishes in her KPMG Women's PGA Championship career (2015: 2nd; 2017: T-4).
PAST CHAMPS CHARGING
Three-time KPMG Women’s PGA champion Inbee Park (2013-’15) and 2017 winner Danielle Kang each made their move on Saturday, posting a pair of 4-under 68s to climb into the top 10. Park and Kang, both tied for seventh, trail the leader, Hannah Green, by six shots.
The par-4 16th at Hazeltine played 385 yards the first two days and proved to be one of the more challenging holes on the course (R1: third toughest; R2: sixth toughest). The tees were moved up 140 yards on Saturday for a total of 245 yards and played as the third easiest hole. In fact, the total number of birdies on Saturday (29) matched the two-day total on Thursday (13) and Friday (16).
SATURDAY SCORING OPPORTUNTIES APLENTY
Hazeltine National played a bit more generous on Saturday than the first two rounds. Compared to just five players posting rounds in the 60s on Thursday and Friday combined, Saturday witnessed a total of 10 below-70 scores.
CHANGE IN PLANS
Due to anticipated bad weather overnight and into the early morning, final-round starting times (Sunday, June 23rd) will be in groups of 3 from tee #1 and tee #10 from 9:12 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.