Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Ewing-Kupcho seize 1-shot lead at LPGA’s Dow

By admin Jul8,2024

Jun 29, 2024, 07:53 PM ET

MIDLAND, Mich. — Ally Ewing and Jennifer Kupcho handled a strong wind and the tough foursomes format for a 3-under 67 on Saturday, giving the American duo a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Dow Championship.

The South Korean tandem of Haeji Kang and In Kyung Kim was tied for second with a team of former No. 1s in Atthaya Thitikul and Ruoning Yin. The final round is fourballs, the easier format to score.

Ewing finally got a birdie putt to fall from about 18 feet on the 10th hole, and they picked up another birdie on the par-5 11th. A soft bogey on the 16th hole dropped them back into a tie and then Ewing hit a good tee shot on the par-3 18th to set up Kupcho’s birdie.

“I didn’t really know where we stood. I knew we were near the top,” Kupcho said. “Honestly, I don’t think it matters going into tomorrow. One shot lead isn’t that much when it’s the format of best ball tomorrow. Like somebody can go out and shoot 11 under. It’s just going out and focusing on our own game tomorrow.”

They were at 15-under 195 in the only official team event on the LPGA schedule. Kupcho won it two years ago with Lizette Salas.

Kang and In Kim had the low score of the day, a 65 that included an eagle on the par-4 fifth hole where the tees were moved forward to make it reachable. Kang hit driver to near perfection, over the water setting up a short eagle putt.

They were at 6 under for the round until the South Koreans made their lone bogey on the 18th.

Thitikul of Thailand and Yin of China lost some momentum in the easier fourballs format on Friday, a 66 that was two shots worse than their opening foursomes score. And then they got off to a rough start, making bogey on the par-5 third hole and taking a double bogey on the next one.

But they picked up the pace and again thrived in foursomes. They responded to the double bogey with three straight birdies, and they picked up four more birdies on the back nine. Thitikul polished it off with a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole.

“We had a rough start, which is me being stupid,” Yin said. “I made a couple of mistakes, and Jeeno just talked to me and say, ‘Hey, I know we just need to hit the ball, and we’ll make birdies. I have you; you have me. That’s all you need to know.’

“Yeah, we bounced back in the way we were tough out there.”

Grace Kim of Australia and Auston Kim, an LPGA rookie from Florida, were part of a five-way tie for the lead going into the third round. They managed a 69 as they scrambled to stay in position in the tough wind. They were only two behind.

“We knew that foursomes were not going to be too low score-wise. We obviously tried our best, and the wind was up there. It got a bit gusty, and club selection was crucial,” Grace Kim said. “We just tried to keep it in play and make as many pars as we could. Obviously if we have birdie opportunities, we’d take them. I think 1 under is a pretty decent score, especially with the conditions we had today.”

Also two shots back were Amanda Doherty and Caroline Inglis, who posted a 66.

Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson were six shots out of the lead, but they had 14 teams in front of them. They fell back with a 71 in which they managed only one birdie.


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