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S. Korean Kim Hyo-joo 1 shot off lead at LPGA season's final major

Aug. 13, 2023 - 09:52 By Yonhap
Kim Hyo-joo of South Korea walks on the 18th hole during the third round of the AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England, on Saturday.(The Royal and Ancient Golf Club)

South Korean player Kim Hyo-joo is one stroke off the lead heading into the final round of the last LPGA major of 2023.

Kim shot a four-under 68 in the third round of the AIG Women's Open in Surrey, England, on Saturday, to reach eight-under for the tournament. She is one shot back of the co-leaders, Lilia Vu of the United States and Charley Hull of England, with 18 holes to play at Walton Heath Golf Club.

Kim, 28, is going for her second career major, after winning the 2014 Evian Championship. Her last tour victory came in April 2022.

Kim had also been in late contention at the US Women's Open in July before finishing tied for sixth place. Kim was the runner-up at the Women's Scottish Open last week in her final tuneup for the AIG Women's Open.

Kim made six birdies against two bogeys in the third round. She only needed 27 putts to get around her 18 holes, five fewer than the second round.

"I've been putting pretty well all week," said Kim, who drained a 45-footer for a birdie on the 17th green. "I think this was the windiest day of the tournament so far, but I was able to stay focused, especially on the back nine. Overall, it was an extremely satisfying day, and I hope I can maintain this touch tomorrow."

Kim said she and her roommate for the week, fellow Korean player Ji Eun-hee, leaned on some Korean food for fuel.

"We had some 'samgyeopsal,'" Kim said of having Korean-style grilled pork belly. "We've got to eat some meat to get our energy."

No South Korean player has won a major so far this season. The country did not have any LPGA major champion in 2021 and had just one in 2022.

Lurking four shots behind the leaders is Korean veteran Shin Ji-yai, a former world No. 1 who now plays full-time in Japan. The two-time AIG Women's Open champion was a surprise runner-up at the US Women's Open last month.

After opening this week with a 73, Shin has shot consecutive rounds of 69. She had five birdies and two bogeys in the third round.

"I had a good ball-striking day. I had some problems on the greens, though," Shin said. "It was such a windy day that I had to adjust my aim, whether it was well to the left or to the right. But I tried to trust myself and trust my swing." (Yonhap)