Final round coverage of the LPGA’s season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will now air live at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Jiyai Shin and No. 30 Lydia Ko share the lead at 17-under par after three rounds of play. Both Shin and Ko carded rounds of 3-under 70 on Saturday and take a six-shot lead over Spaniard Beatriz Recari into Sunday’s final round.
“Final Round Queen” Jiyai Shin, a 10-time LPGA winner, will be paired in the final group with 15-year-old Lydia Ko, winner of the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open. Lydia Ko said she’ll feel more comfortable playing with a big name on the LPGA Tour who she’s played with before. Ko gets the chance to be paired up with Shin for the second time, the first coming in the final round at last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open where Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history.
Ko was told that Shin had mentioned on Friday that their games have parallels in that they are accurate ball strikers and cool under pressure. Ko had something to add to the similarities. “Well they say we look alike too (laughs),” said Ko.
Ko agreed to the on-course similarities but also said that she thinks she’ll be able to learn from the 10-time LPGA winner. “I’ve seen her play before at the Canadian Open and then on TV,” said Ko. “She’s a pretty accurate player I guess off the tee and stuff, so in that way we could be pretty similar. I mean, she’s a great player and there are things that I do need to learn from her.”
Ko doesn’t even think she’s playing her best golf this week, her best coming last year in Vancouver. “No, I think when I played the best was at the Canadian Open,” said Ko. “I mean, that week – and I didn’t really feel the pressure of wanting to win because it was an LPGA event and I was like, oh, like I’d win, I was thinking that. So yeah even up until the last hole I didn’t know that I would win, so in that kind of situation it was pretty much when I was hitting the best.”
Not this time around: Jiyai Shin had the opportunity to see Lydia Ko in action and at her best at last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open and finished five shots behind Ko. But Shin’s confidence in her game and play throughout the week leads her to think
“Well, I really look forward to tomorrow because I really enjoy the last three rounds,” said Shin. “And then I know I’ll play a really young golfer (laughs). But I have more experience than her, so I just, I have a really good feeling with my swing and tempo, so I just give focus to each of my shots.”
She didn’t ignore Ko’s performances through the first three rounds this week and thinks that their pairing can produce a stroke-play feel for the fans.
“Well I think she have enough experience too (laughs) because she played great last week and then last year also, and I know how she hit it great and she putting is really good,” said Shin. “So, I think I really, I think tomorrow will be really good competition for us.”
Shin’s looking to get back in the winner circle for the third time in her last seven LPGA starts and 11th career title.
Third round coverage will air on tape delay as planned beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern.