Kim went on another streaky run of birdies at Aronimink in Newtown Square, Pa., shooting a 3-under 67 to hold the lead and positioning herself to put that label to rest at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Kim sits at 7-under 203, two strokes ahead of Brooke Henderson and Anna Nordqvist, and will try to win it Sunday on a rare early-morning tee time.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, but I’m also excited about going into the final day,” Kim said.
The tournament was delayed three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, landing its final round smack on a packed sports Sunday. The PGA of America had to get creative with the tee times with NBC having other programming commitments on the weekend. Kim, Henderson and Nordqvist tee off at 8:49 a.m. and the last group goes off at 9:16 a.m. The TV window is noon to 2 p.m. on NBC.
“The only thing I have to keep in mind is that earlier tee times will be a little chillier temperaturewise, so I’ll make sure I have my hand warmers and be ready to play tomorrow,” Kim said.
Kim was runner-up at the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and tied for second at the Evian Championship in 2018. Kim held the 54-hole lead at a major once, at the 2015 ANA Inspiration, where she finished tied for fourth.
The last four winners of the tournament either led or co-led after 36 holes, and Kim played like a golfer poised to make it five.
Henderson, who won the 2016 Women’s PGA Championship, tied her career-best 18-hole score at a major championship with a 65 to stay within striking distance. Henderson had five birdies for a bogey-free round.
“Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’m a major champion,” Henderson said. “But definitely in times like this it gives me a little bit of confidence, and I’m excited to try to do it again tomorrow.”
Nordqvist, who had five birdies and three bogeys, shot a 5-under 68 as she tries to win her third major championship.
Inbee Park is three strokes behind the leader and Bianca Pagdanganan shot a 65 for the second straight day to rally her way into fifth at 3 under. Pagdanganan hasn’t had a bogey since the first round.
Park is a three-time winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and would tie Mickey Wright for the most in a career with a win.
“I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it, but it’s just too crazy to think something big like that, in the history of golf, history of this championship, is going to maybe have a slim chance of happening to me,” Park said.
It’s not happening to an underdog. There’s a four-way tie for sixth place on a leaderboard stacked with the top talent on the tour.
European — After almost nine months in America, English golfer Tyrrell Hatton is on target for a happy homecoming in the BMW PGA Championship — the tournament which inspired him to become a professional.
Hatton will take a three-shot lead over Denmark’s JB Hansen and France’s Victor Perez into the final round at Wentworth, with British Open champion Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, and David Horsey another stroke back.
Hatton grew up not far from Wentworth and often came to one of the European Tour’s flagship events as a spectator, while he went into the final round in 2016 a shot off the lead before finishing seventh.
“It’s been a goal of mine to hopefully win this tournament so it would be very special,” Hatton said after his 3-under 69 in the third round to go 14 under overall.
“I just have to try to not get too far ahead of myself, take confidence from the fact I’ve won on Tour, go out there and control myself, play well like I have the last three days and see what happens.”