Jennifer Kupcho got off to a quick start and kept going on Saturday at the Chevron Championship to take a six-shot lead to the final round at Mission Hills in the major.
Kupcho scored his eighth under 64 on a hot sunny afternoon in the Coachella Valley for a tournament record total of 16-under 200. Defending champion Patty Tavatanakit, playing alongside Kupcho in the penultimate group, came second after 70 minutes.
Kupcho moved into position to win for the first time on the LPGA Tour and took the final winning jump at Poppie’s Pond, three years after missing a place in the event to play and win that week at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The tournament that started in 1972 and made a big name in 1983 moved to Houston after failing to attract sponsors willing to keep it in historic Mission Hills.
Kupcho birdied eight of the first 12 holes in mostly calm conditions. After the opening par, the 24-year-old former Wake Forest star from Colorado birdied the next four. He added a birdie at No. 8 and opened up a back nine with three straight birdies.
Tavatanakit looked in a position to cut the lead at par-five 11 when he hit the second 256 yards to 6 feet, with Kupcho in the left greenside bunker in two. But Tavatanakit missed an eagle putt and Kupcho birdied, hitting six feet to equal Tavatanakit.
Both players bogeyed at the par-four 13th, and Kupcho extended the lead to seven at the par-three-17th when he birdied a 10-foot putt and Tavatanakit fired home. Tavatanakit pulled one back with a birdie in the par-five 18th.
Kupcho broke the 54-hole 14-under record set by Pernilla Lindberg in 2018 and was matched by Tavatanakit last year. Dottie Pepper set a mark of 72 holes 19-under 269 in 1999.
Jessica Korda is third on nine under after 67.
“They roast these vegetables, so it’s really tough and you have to keep figuring out where to put them and how much to roll out,” Korda said. “It plays a pretty big factor, especially on some of these pins.”
Annie Park shot a 73 to fall to seven under.
Lexi Thompson, the 2014 champion, has 71 games of Brooke Henderson (67), Hannah Green (68), Gabriela Ruffels (71), Hyo Joo Kim (73) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (72) in six under.
“Score-wise, of course, I had to shoot like the lights went out, but honestly overall enjoyed every step of the way into the final round here,” Thompson said. “Hopefully, they can get another show here.”
Koerstz Madsen has won and lost playoffs in his last two starts, beating Xiyu Lin three weeks ago in Thailand to become the first Danish winner in LPGA Tour history and losing to Atthaya Thitikul last week in Carlsbad.
Second-round leader Hinako Shibuno had 77 to drop 12 hits back.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko, 2019 winner, even on par after 74.
Brooke Seay, the Stanford junior who turned down a place at Augusta to play the final event at Mission Hills, was the only one of the four amateurs on the course to qualify. He’s 1 over after 75.
Cool Jennifer Kupcho leads six strokes into Mission Hills main final | LPGA
Source link Cool Jennifer Kupcho leads six strokes into Mission Hills main final | LPGA