Annika Sorenstam’s best-ever 72-hole LPGA tournament score could fall on Sunday at the CP Canadian Women’s Open.
Jaw-dropping low scores have ruled the week, and they continued into the weekend at the London Hunt & Country Club. South Korean tournament leader So Yeon Ryu goes into the final day sitting six strokes away from the legendary LPGA star’s best-ever weekend score of 27-under-par.
Ryu sits atop the leaderboard for a third straight day at 20-under after shooting a 5-under 67 on Saturday. Azahara Munoz shot a nine-under 63, tying the course record just set by Ryu on Thursday. Munoz skyrocketed up the leaderboard into second place, now sitting at 16-under, thanks to the career-best round. She is knotted in second with Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, who scored a 6-under 66 on Saturday.
“My goal on Sunday is seven birdies,” said Ryu.
Munoz said she was motivated by the 63 she saw earlier this week.
“It’s good, because you have that number in mind, and you know it’s possible so you go out thinking you can make lots of birdies,” said Munoz, who had six birdies on the back nine.
World No.2 Inbee Park also sits within shooting distance at 14-under.
None of the three atop the leaderboard have won a tournament yet this season. The record for a 72-hole Canadian Women’s Open is likely to fall. It is currently 18-under, held by two different golfers. Meg Mallon did it in 2004 at Legends of the Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ont. and Brandie Burton in 1998 at Essex Golf & Country Club in Windsor, Ont., both scores of 270.
Sorenstam’s LPGA record for a 72-hole tournament was set back in 2001, a 27-under 261 at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, Ariz. The all-time leader on the LPGA Tour’s career money-list shot a second-round 59 in that record-breaking performance. It was the third-best raw 72-hole score of all time on the LPGA Tour.
Earlier Saturday, Brooke Henderson got to play with one of her golf idols on Saturday, before one of the biggest galleries of the week.
The 16-year-old phenom from Smiths Falls, Ont. became the low Canadian in the event as she shot a 1-under-71 on Saturday to improve to 4-under and tied for 39th. A steady throng followed the rising young amateur around the course as she played alongside World No.6 Lexi Thompson, already a major winner at age 19.
“Lexi, I’ve always looked up to, she’s definitely a big person in the women’s game,” said Henderson, the world’s No.2-ranked amateur. “I was pretty excited. She’s one of the best women in the game and she’s young and one of my idols. Just being able to watch her today and learn a little bit from her was fun.”
Thompson has insight into the pressures of being a young star on the rise. The American played in her first U.S. Women’s Open at age 12, turned pro at age 15 and won her first LPGA event at 16. Thompson captured her first major this past spring, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Henderson is playing this event for the third time, after failing to make the cut twice, at age 14 and 15. She has verbally committed to playing at The University of Florida in 2015, but must decide before then if she will turn pro instead. Henderson and Thompson talked a little as they walked the fairways Saturday.
“I don’t know what she plans on doing -- we talked about it a little -- but she has a great game no matter what, and it will continue to improve if she puts the work into it,” said Thompson, who shot an even-par 72 and sits 3-under, tied for 48th.
“She’s a very impressive player, very consistent, got up and down when she needed to, and that’s something that shows up in a great player. It was very cool to watch her game up close.”
Three other Canadians remain in the tournament. LPGA rookie Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont., who had been the low Canadian through the first two rounds, came into Saturday at 5-under struggled to a 4-over 76. She now sits at 1-under. Amateur Jennifer Ha of Calgary, a junior at Kent State University, shot a 1-over 73 to sit at 2-under. Sue Kim of Langley, B.C is one-over after shooting a 2-over 74.
Ed Note: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information regarding the LPGA record for a 72 hole tournament which the LPGA originally supplied and later corrected