Henderson holds LOTTE lead despite late stumble
4/14/2018 6:38:32 AM EST
Brooke Henderson holds a one-shot lead after three rounds of the LOTTE Championship in Oahu, Hawaii, but the 20-year-old Canadian let a host of players back into the tournament by playing her final three holes at the Ko Olina Golf Club in 3-over par Friday.
Henderson led by as many as five shots and held a four-shot advantage for much of the third round. But she let several opportunities to extend the margin slip away before suffering a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 16th hole. She also bogeyed the 18th to card a 1-over par round of 73 on Friday and sits at 9 under for the tournament.
Henderson needed 35 putts to get through the third round after totaling 50 through the first two rounds.
Playing partner Mo Martin rolled in a par putt on the final hole to hold onto solo second place at 8-under following an even-par 72 on Friday. Martin, one of the shortest hitters on the LPGA Tour, had an interesting third round that included zero birdies. She had two bogies and just the 10th eagle of her career when she knocked her approach on the par-5 13th hole to within feet of the cup.
Henderson and Martin will be paired with Japan's Nasa Hataoka in Saturday's final round. Hataoka carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to reach 7 under and a tie for third place with South Korea's Inbee Park.
"I think I hit it really good and played really well," said Hataoka. "I think that these winds the other two days kind of helped me. I had three eagle chances and just couldn't make it, but I made a lot of good shots."
Lizette Salas is in a tie for fifth place with top-ranked Shanshan Feng of China at 6 under. Salas managed a 2-under par round of 70 on Friday despite breaking her driver when she threw her putter at her bag on the second hole. The driver head fell over on the third tee, and Salas played the rest of the round without the club.
"It made things easier to choose clubs off the tee, for sure," Salas told the Golf Channel. "But luckily the wind was a little different, and I had some easier, drivable holes with 3-wood. It just made it a little more challenging, but it made it more fun. I had to be aggressive off the tee, which is something I learned today.
"Lesson learned, that was my Friday the 13th little punishment."
Honolulu resident and former LOTTE champion Michelle Wie sits in a tie for 18th at 2 under, while defending champion Cristie Kerr is tied for 41st at 2 over.
Salas acknowledged that she felt that winning was a long shot when she walked off the course, only to have Henderson bring several players back into contention with her double bogey.
"Anything can happen here," Salas said. "And just with one mistake, it brings a lot more players in. Kinda gets us more encouraged to make a move tomorrow, and I didn't know I was that into it until now. Just gotta put the wheels back on and give it a go, and it just makes it more challenging."
--Field Level Media