SAME AGAIN FOR JIN YOUNG KO?
Jin Young Ko, last year’s winner, is shaping to do the same again as she handed in a 65 on the third day of the HSBC Women’s World Championship on the Tanjong course at the Sentosa GC. Her drive at the par four 18th bounced not at all and left her way behind her playing companions and with a long and difficult shot to the green. As it transpired, she caught the centre of putting surface with much the same ease as she might deliver a slice of cheesecake (her favourite food) to her plate.
On a day when she started with four birdies in her first five holes and eight overall, Ko pulled up at 14-under par and is two clear of Nelly Korda. The leader felt that she had done well to stay patient when her golf was not at its best: “I knew that each shot could be important, but I reminded myself, ‘This is just a shot’ and I tried not to put pressure on myself.”
Korda, who seems to be playing better and better, startled her fans when, at the 18th, she gave her 30-footer an alarmingly hard whack, only for the ball to crash into the cup for what was a second successive birdie and a third 68.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of players in third place who, unlike Ko and Korda, do not know what it is to have won a major or, indeed, any event on the LPGA Tour. One is Elizabeth Szokol who, after opening with a scintillating 64, seemed to find herself pretty comfortable with the view from the top of the leaderboard as she added a 71 and 70.
The 24-year-old Corpuz, a rookie on the LPGA tour, is similarly demonstrating plenty in the way of confidence, as well she might in that, as a 10-year-old she became the youngest ever qualifier in the US Public Links Championship. She also did her stuff for the Americans in the ’21 Curtis Cup, winning all three of her matches.
So what happened to Danielle Kang who, in partnership with a new Scotty Cameron putter which she had helped to design, could do no wrong on Friday. Today, player and putter were on quite such good terms, with any number of Kang’s putts finishing teasingly close but refusing to drop. Mind you the putter played its part towards the end in staving off anything worse than a 72 after its owner had carded two bunkered bogeys at the tenth and 12th holes.
Szokol plays at such a pace that you have the feeling that referees everywhere will making videos of her modus operandi for those slow-moving professionals who can find themselves with the equivalent of a speeding fine.
Though she takes a thorough look at her putts, it is the way she hits them before her followers are ready which creates such a stir. For those who would love to understand more of what she does, there is a video of Szokol giving a putting tip in the days when she was playing on the LPGA’s secondary circuit.
The written tip to go with it explains that she uses “a unique putting arc to help rock her shoulders and improve her putting.”
Golfers can read into that what they will.