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Sarah Jane Smith leads Australians at KPMG Women's PGA

Smith is again performing well in a major (Photo: Henry Peters)
So Yeon Ryu burst clear over the closing stages of round three at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, taking advantage of her own impressive play and struggles by Brook Henderson to lead by three over Henderson and by four over Sung Hyun Park, all three of whom had shared the 36 hole lead.

Australia's Sarah Jane Smith improved with a round of 68 to be in a share of 10th place and is on track for a second top ten in majors this season following on from her 5th place at the US Women's Open. 

Park took the early lead on day three when she birdied the 1st but from that point on it was Henderson who took control, moving two clear of the field by the turn and maintaining that gap until the 14th where a two shot swing saw Ryu join the Canadian in the lead.

Ryu would then birdie the 15th and 18th and when Henderson bogeyed the 16th the gap was three.

“Well, after the front nine I couldn't actually expect to be leading after the third round, said Ryu referring to her slow start and the quality play of Henderson over the front nine. But I think that 11 was really, really important momentum for me. That was a really big birdie.

Ryu already has two majors to her name having won the US Women’s Open and the ANA Inspiration   

“Well, actually I think that winning this tournament is going to be huge because I never really dreamed about becoming a Grand Slammer, but after I won the ANA Inspiration, I started to dream about becoming a Grand Slammer.

“For that I need to definitely win this tournament, and right now I'm in pretty good position to achieve another dream, so I really want to make it. I really want to finish strong, and then if I can win this tournament, it's going to be part of the history.

“If you look back all the past champions of this tournament, just everyone is just such a great player out here. I definitely want to be part of the history.”

Henderson was no doubt disappointment as to how things evolved over the final hour or so of play but she was putting a positive spin on it in her post round press conference.

“Yeah, it's pretty awesome,” she said. “This event has always been really special to me, and I've made a lot of great appearances, and my worst finish so far has been a T5, which is pretty crazy when you think about it. Just so many great memories, and hopefully tomorrow I can just go out and put a good score together and just kind of see what happens.”

Sarah Jane Smith continues to improve her position in the event each day, her third round of 68 seeing her now in a share of 10th position.

Asked after how this experience compares with that at the US Women’s Open Smith said; “I think a lot because they're similar, like longer courses and ball-striking. So I know that I can compete in those kind of conditions, and it's probably better for me because I usually hit the ball fairly straight, so when they're wide golf courses I don't fare very well because it's sort of no advantage. So on courses like this, it's good for me.

New Zealander Lydia Ko was unable to capitalise on her brilliant second round of 66 and is tied with Smith in 10th place after a disappointing round of 73 today. Three dropped shots over the closing stages have likely cost her the chance of victory unless she can produce something extraordinary tomorrow and get help from those ahead.

Of the other Australians in the field Minjee Lee is 34th and Karrie Webb 57th.




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