Shin and Ko battle at Australian Open
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2013 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open | Round Three | 16 Feb 2013
Jiyai Shin and Lydia Ko will take a share of the lead into the final round of the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at Royal Canberra.
An intriguing battle looms tomorrow as 15 year old Ko chases her fourth professional title as an amateur and her second in succession while 24 year old Shin is targeting her 37th win as a professional, two of those major championships.
Both payers finished with rounds of three under par 70 to lead at 17 under, six shots ahead of Spaniard Beatriz Ricari with a further two shots back to a group of four players at 9 under.
That group includes Carlota Ciganda, Moriya Jutanugarn, Gwladys Nocera, Mario Uribe and Yani Tseng.
As was the case in her first LPGA Tour victory in Canada last year, Ko will get the opportunity to play the final round with Shin who she held off back then but despite that task her task tomorrow will be no easier.
When asked if she was playing as well if better then when she won in Canada Ko responded; "No, I think when I played the best was at the Canadian Open. That week it felt like it went easily, like it’s probably because I played well, it’s not really because I won in the end.
“I mean, that week – and I didn’t really feel the pressure of wanting to win because It was an LPGA event and there was no expectations. So yeah even up until the last hole I didn’t know that I would win, so in that kind of situation it was pretty much when I was hitting the best.”
Ko made a brilliant start today with three birdies in her first six holes to take the lead but whatever it was that caused it she lost her way a little early in the back nine and allowed Shin to take the lead on her own.
“It was a pretty good start to the day, said Ko. "During the middle of my back 9 it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would go along, but a birdie on the 18th and I guess that made my day.
“I know when I was coming down the 18th I wasn’t happy with what had happened and you know, there were a couple more birdie opportunities that I did miss, so I said, Lydia just have a birdie down the last hole and you know, just be happy with that hole. I guess it worked and yeah, it’s quite mentally hurtful (laughs) when you do make bogeys along the way after you’ve been playing so pretty good.”
Following her emotional win last week in her homeland Ko was asked if she was feeling any fatigue.
“Yeah, because I did play full rounds last week then I played 9 holes on Monday, 18 Tuesday, 18 Wednesday and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday as well. So yeah, I’ve been playing quite a lot of golf and I played like pretty much every single day until the New Zealand Open as well for two weeks. I mean, I’m feeling okay now but probably after tomorrow I’ll be a bit tired. But then I’ve got Thailand Open the week after, so hopefully I won’t be that fatigued.
Shin is back playing close to her best having gone so close to winning this title when beaten in a playoff by Karrie Webb in 2008 she is keen to add a title that means a lot to her.
“Absolutely and also I know that I have a lot of fans in Australia so I want to show them the good playing and win in front of them, said Ko when asked what a win would mean to her. "I really love to play here, so I want to make it great, the things here.
“Well yes definitely and then the wind picked up, the balls flies, so it’s hard to control with my irons today and also the pin location was really tough,” added Shin when asked if the course was more difficult than earlier in the week. "I hit a lot of good shots but still missed a few greens.
So does Shin think it is a race in two given the fact that she and Ko are a massive six shots clear of those behind?
“Well, this makes it comfortable for us because we just focus – I’m just focus about her score and she also just kept looking at my score. But, you know, this course has a lot of chance to birdie, a lot of par 5s, so I’m still keep watching for other players. You know, first day Lydia hit a 10 under, I hit an 8 under, so all players had a chance to make the lower scores.”
The gap back to Beatriz Recari appears insurmountable given the manner in which Ko and Shin have played all week and the battle for third place will hold a lot of interest.
Recari is two shots ahead of Ciganda, Jutanugarn, Nocera, Uribe and Tseng.
Ciganda was rookie of the year on the Ladies European Tour last year, Jutanguran was Medallist at the LPGA Tour School, Nocera a multiple winner on the Ladies European Tour who shot 65 yesterday and the world number one Tseng is a threat in any situation.
The race to be the leading Australian is headed by Sarah Jane Smith but she stands just one ahead of Rebecca Artis, Ashlee Dewhurst, Whitney Hillier and Katherine Hull-Kirk.
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