On a day when much of the field battled challenging wind conditions, Brooke Henderson’s 1-over 73 was good enough to claim the 54-hole lead at the 2018 LOTTE Championship.
Starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Henderson had stretched her advantage to five through 15 holes, aided by birdies on Nos. 3, 5, 7, and 13. But the young Canadian ran into trouble down the stretch, posting double bogey-par-bogey to finish at 9-under 207, one clear of Mo Martin.
“I hit it so well today that it kind of sucks to walk off the course one over when I know it could’ve been so much better,” said Henderson.
“But on the plus side I’m still leading, which is always great going into the final round. Hopefully I can hit it just as well as I had the it today and hopefully make a few more putts.”
Martin wasn’t much better, finishing even-par 72, thanks largely to an eagle in the par-5 13th – a rarity for the short hitting American.
“With no wind I would consider hitting a 3-wood, but downwind 3-wood was going to be way too much,” said Martin, who owns one career LPGA win.
“Craig (Castrale, her caddie) made me laugh. He said, there is no way you’re hitting a 3-wood. He basically said, I’m going to tackle you before you hit a 3-wood here.
“So I was laughing actually, so I grabbed a 5. Had to step on it just a little bit, and I did; hit it perfect. Actually kind of started walking after I hit it because I couldn’t waiting to go see what it was.”
Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (68) and Korea’s Inbee Park (71) were tied for third at 7-under par. Like many in the field on Friday, the winds at Ko Olina Golf Club got the better of the veteran Park, who offset a double bogey with three birdies.
“Usually I just pick a club and just go. I never really back away from the ball,” said Park. “Today I think few times I like back away from the ball trying to go like in between the clubs.
“I couldn’t make my decision out there. Like so confused today.”
Chinese Shanshan Feng (74) and American Lizette Salas (70) share fifth-place at 6-under par.
TOP 10 LEADERS
1 Brooke Henderson -9
2 Mo Martin -8
3 Nasa Hataoka -7
3 Inbee Park -7
5 Lizette Salas -6
5 Shanshan Feng -6
7 Daniela Iacobelli -5
7 Pernilla Lindberg -5
9 Julieta Granada -4
9 Pei-Yun Chien -4
9 Ariya Jutanugarn -4
9 Hyun-Ji Kim -4
9 Moriya Jutanugarn -4
9 Lindy Duncan -4
“You really had to pay attention out there. It was doing all of that, which is pretty crazy. Start off the day it was northwest, which all week we’ve been playing east/northeast, so that was a big change and I had to adjust lines. I had a lot closer in on a lot of par 4s. I had like 20 yards in on one and 50 a couple times, so it was a big change.”
– Brooke Henderson
Credit: Getty Images, LPGA Media