Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give – Day 3

Defending Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give champion Lexi Thompson and In Gee Chun will share the lead at 15-under par heading into the final round at Blythefield Country Club.

“I’m just going to go out here, have fun, be relaxed, just how I have been the last three days,” Thompson said. “It’s been a very relaxing week so far, so I’ll just try my best tomorrow and see how it goes.”

“I’m always excited to play in the last group so I’m ready,” Chun said with a smile. “I enjoy it.”

While she has a chance to repeat as champion, Thompson finds herself in a different position than she was in 2015 when she came from 5-shots back to win.

“It’s a different mindset than coming from behind a few shots, but like I said before, you just have to focus on your own game,” Thompson explained. “You can’t control other players, you just have to do your best, try to make birdies out here because you know they’re going to be made and see where it goes.”

Chun tied the low round of the week on Saturday with a 65 to move her into the final group with Thompson, who she is excited to be playing with.

“It’s very exciting because she’s such a great player so always I learn a lot from her,” The reigning U.S. Women’s Open Champion said.

The duo will be joined in the final group by Sei Young Kim who also shot a 65 on Saturday.

“I feel good today because today bogey free, so when I starting first round I set goal, I set goal no bogey and no double, Kim said. “Well, the first round, second round I had a couple bogeys, but it’s fine because today I success in my goal, yeah.”

On a week where the scores have been low, 10 players are within five shots of the lead entering the final day.

Lydia Ko hanging around

Lydia Ko posted a 4-under, 67 during the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Saturday and sits four shots back of current leaders In Gee Chun and defending champion Lexi Thompson.

“The front nine I couldn’t get anything going,” Ko said. “I was striking the ball really well and then just no putts were going in.  And then I made a good up and down on 9 and then made four good birdies in a row, so I think that kind of turned my round around.  And then in the last few holes I made quite a few good par putts and up and downs to save par.”

On a day where 28 of the players in the field are posting rounds in the 60’s, Ko said her strategy headed into the final round on Sunday is to have fun and be patient with her shots.

“The girls are going low so I know all I’ve got to do is have fun out there, be patient and hopefully make birdies,” Ko said. “But you just never know what’s going to happen, and especially with the girls going low, there could be a very low number tomorrow.  But I’ve just got to focus on my game.  At the end of the day I’m going to be a few shots behind, but I’m not going to worry about what everybody’s doing and just try to have a good round tomorrow.”

Sei Young Kim in the hunt again

Sei Young Kim posted a 6-under, 65 during the third of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Saturday to sit in third just one shot behind current leaders In Gee Chun and Lexi Thompson heading into the final round. 

“I’m very excited,” Kim said. “I have an opportunity to be the leader and hopefully I play well and I take the lead.”

Kim, ranked No. 5 on the Rolex Rankings, started off on fire earning four birdies and no bogeys during her front nine. But when it came down to her back nine, Kim carried the momentum from the front nine and earned an eagle on hole No. 9 and finished making par on every hole on her back nine to finish her round. Kim’s plan heading into the final round on Sunday is to focus on the mental aspect of her game.

“I think the point is to mentally keep relaxed and focus on my putting, every player is really good at putting” Kim said  “So main thing is to reset and refresh.”

Numbers to know

8 – Lexi Thompson has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead eight times in her career and won five of them

>> With a victory this week, Lexi Thompson has the opportunity to successfully defend a tournament title for the first time in her career

12 – Lexi Thompson is 12-under par on the front nine

-15 – Lexi Thompson is 15-under par and will have the opportunity on Sunday to break her previous tournament scoring record of 18-under par last year

290.3 – Lexi Thompson leads the field in driving distance with an average of 290.3 yards per drive

26 – Lydia Ko and Sei Young Kim lead the Tour with 26 rounds in the 60s through Saturday

2 – Briana Mao and Mi Jung Hur both recorded their first career hole-in-ones; There were none the first two years of the tournament 

67 – Michelle Wie’s round of 67 was her first round in the 60s since the second round of the ANA Inspiration (4/2/16)