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THREE TIED ATOP TGWSO LEADERBOARD

August 14, 2021

LEADERBOARD ROUND 3
T1          Ryann O Toole (USA)      -9

T1          Charley Hull (UK)            -9

T1          Ariya Jutanugarn THA    -8

T4          Ashleigh Buhai (RSA)      -8

T4          Atthaya Thitikul (THA)   -8

6            Anna Nordqvist (SWE)   -8

T7          Lydia Ko (NZL)                 -7

T7          Celine Boutier (FRA)       -7

T7          Marina Alex (USA)          -7

T7          Yealimi Noh(USA)           -7

T7          Kelsey MacDonald          -7

 

A three way tie for the lead and nine players within two shots leaves the 2021 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open poised for a thrilling Sunday finish.

 

Of the leaders, Ariya Jutanugarn, a former Women’s Scottish Open winner, looked most likely to surge clear of the field on ‘moving day’ as she made the turn at -11. A double bogey at the 10th was impressively rectified with birdies at the 12th and 15th but her good work was slightly undone as she dropped shots at her final two holes bringing her back to the field.

 

Thailand’s two time Major champion explained – “I would say today is kind of like thinking, I don’t want to miss, I want to hit it good but I think I forgot my process like I have to have really good commitment and really focus on the thing that is under my control, especially the links, it’s really windy and we never know what going to happen. So when I say, I might hit perfect shot and not in the right place, I just have to go back, and, you know, try to do my best and not thinking about the outcome too much.”

England’s Charley Hull posted a third consecutive 69 to tie for the lead and stuck to her plan of not over thinking out on the course– “I wasn’t really thinking much, not about golf, anyway. I was thinking about loads of other things but not golf. It’s coming to the point now where I’m playing well and I don’t even know how many birdies I made, I can’t even are remember what shots hit on the golf course like that because my brain is not thinking too much.”

America’s Ryann O Toole, a Solheim Cup player in 2011. shot third round 68 to reach the top of the leaderboard, and is looking to win her first LPGA title in 11 years as a professional – “Of course, I definitely want that win. I think I stick to my game plan, one shot at a time, picking smart targets, not too aggressive lines and a few putts to drop.”

The other Thai player on the leaderboard is the impressive 18 year old, Atthaya Thitikul whose excellent round could have been even better but for bogeys at the 17th and 18th. The teenager has a remarkably philosophical outlook going into tomorrow – “If I can make it tomorrow, it’s going to be great definitely. But if not, it’s still a good week and it’s still you know like I’m trying to improve myself every single day and I try to be a better person and better golfer. Everything has been amazing and let’s see the challenge tomorrow.”

2021 Olympic Bronze medallist Lydia Ko shot a steady blemish free 69 with her new strategy of playing more aggressively seeming to pay dividends  – “I’m just trying to trust my numbers and trust that, hey, you know, I feel like I could thread those bunkers yesterday and today because I was a little bit more aggressive with it. You could really get rewarded with that. Today I hit a drive 340-something on No. 12. I thought yesterday’s was longer, 320-something, and then today I hit it 340-something, and it was even longer. So you can be aggressive but obviously you have to hit a good shot on top of that. But at the same time if it’s a tricky hole, making sure that par is not a bad score and if I’m out of position to not be too overly aggressive.”

The leading Scottish player in the field, Kelsey MacDonald, another player who bogeyed the last two holes, was able to see the bigger picture as she signed off for a 72 leaving her T7 and is feeling positive as she heads into the final day – “I’m absolutely delighted and it’s good golf and I am excited for tomorrow. I am just here representing Dumbarnie Links who have been good to me and letting me play. My sponsor is a member here, so I do feel part of like the family here, so that’s always good to have that support.”

THREE TIED ATOP TRUST GOLF WOMEN’S SCOTTISH OPEN LEADERBOARD

After an eventful Saturday at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, 36-hole leader Ariya Jutanugarn is joined by England’s Charley Hull and American Ryann O’Toole in a tie for first at -9. Holding a three-stroke advantage over the field at the start of the day in the final grouping, Jutanugarn’s third round ended with five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10.

“I feel like tomorrow just have to play my own game. Today, I was thinking about the outcome so much, I don’t want to miss and make putts, and that’s why I end up today not playing so well,” said Jutanugarn. “So I think tomorrow just have to go back to like yesterday or first round and have good commitment and not really thinking about the outcome.”

Hull, who is searching for her second LPGA Tour win and first since 2016, took hold of lighter winds at Dumbarnie Links en route to a third-consecutive 69. Hull birdied Nos. 4, 7, 12 and 15, and refused to let a bogey on No. 16 ruin an all-around solid showing. “The wind actually felt warmer, as well, so the ball was going a little bit farther. Especially on last few holes it dropped off a bit,” said Hull. “I’ve been feeling confident the last six weeks ever since pretty much, just the couple weeks after U.S. Open. I feel good. I feel really good.”

O’Toole will look to become the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2021 season with a win at the Women’s Scottish Open on Sunday. The 34-year-old’s third-round 68, highlighted by a late eagle on the Aon Risk Reward Challenge Hole, No. 15, put her in prime contention to become the sixth-different American to win this season on Tour.

“I had just been playing 15, take the drive down just that center left side. Today with the wind direction, it was helping a bit more versus left-to-right, so I was able to bite off more on the corner. The back pins, that’s the risk is that if you come in on that left side, you have a short club in but it’s a hard position to hold that green up top,” said O’Toole. “I put myself in a good spot. I had an uphill lie with pitching wedge in and was able to hold the green nicely and make the 9-footer.”

O’Toole holds a 54-hole co-lead/lead for the first time in her Tour career. The California native, who joined the Tour in 2011, said she’s solely focused on bringing home her first LPGA Tour trophy from Scotland.

“I definitely want that win. I think I stick to my game plan, one shot at a time, picking smart targets, not too aggressive lines and a few putts to drop. I struggled all week with the speeds. You get some downhill putts that don’t play as downhill as you think or you get some that run away from you and the uphillers, you definitely have to hit,” said O’Toole. “If I can get a couple more to drop tomorrow, maybe I can be happy with the round.”

Ashleigh Buhai’s 67, which included six birdies and one bogey in her final 12 holes, put her into a tie for fourth with young Thai super and three-time Ladies European Tour winner, Atthaya Thitikul, at -8. Buhai said she’s felt her game “trending in the right direction” for the last few weeks, especially after captaining the winning team in last week’s Aramco Team Series – Sotogrande and finishing second in the individual portion.

“I didn’t know [today’s score] was coming, but yesterday I had four birdies and an eagle. So it was out there,” said Buhai. “And the thing with the wind — it’s being consistent at least and in a similar direction. Every day I think you learn to play the course a bit more and as long as you stick to the right game plan and hit to the right areas, you can make a birdie every now and then.”

Two-time major champion Anna Nordqvist finished with her first sub-70 round of the week, a 69, to sit alone in sixth at -6. Five players, including 2020 Tokyo Olympic Bronze medalist Lydia Ko, sit in a tie for seventh at -5. Defending champion Stacy Lewis’ 78 put her in 69th at +8 heading into Sunday in Fife.

 

WITH A WIN…

Ariya Jutanugarn would become the second three-time winner of the 2021 LPGA Tour season, joining World No. 1, Nelly Korda; it would be Jutanugarn’s third season on Tour since 2016 with at least three wins (2016, 4; 2018, 3)

Jutanugarn would become the second two-time champion of the Women’ Scottish Open, joining Catriona Matthew (2011, 2013)

Jutanugarn would earn her 13th-career victory, putting her in a tie for 40th on the Official Career Wins list with Betty Jameson, Stacy Lewis, Liselotte Neumann and Rosie Jones

Jutanugarn would pass $10 million in career earnings with the $225,000 winner’s check, making her the 20th player in Tour history to do so

Atthaya Thitikul, Ashleigh Buhai or Ryann O’Toole would become the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2021 season

Charley Hull would earn her second LPGA Tour victory, and first in 1,729 days (2016 CME Group Tour Championship)

Hull would be the sixth different player from England to earn multiple Tour victories

O’Toole would be the sixth-different American to win this year on Tour

Thitikul would be eligible to accept immediate LPGA Tour Membership and then receive official CME Globe points and Money

Thitikul would become the youngest Tour winner of 2021 at 18 years, five months and 26 days old; she would be the youngest to win on the LPGA Tour since Lydia Ko won the 2015 Evian Championship at 18 years, four months and 20 days

Thitikul would be the sixth-different player from Thailand to ever win on the LPGA Tour

Buhai would be just the third South African to win on the LPGA Tour, and the first since Lee-Anne Pace in 2014

Buhai would cross the $2 million mark in career earnings with the $225,000 winner’s check ($2,193,321 total)

 

ARIYA JUTANUGARN PROUD OF RESOLVE AFTER DISASTER DOUBLE

It was an exhausting day for the 2018 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn. An even-par round to remain on top of the leaderboard at -9, though this time joined by Charley Hull and Ryann O’Toole, was quite the accomplishment, the 24-year-old said. Yet despite the disappointments, Jutanugarn’s smile never seemed to waver on Dumbarnie Links, especially after a commotion of sorts on No. 10.

“I aimed too far right because I think the wind going to take it, so ends up in the bunker. Just like normal bunker, I have to hit it out for like 50 yards and I miss it. So it role back in the bunker again and then I supposed to hit, I mean to hit shorter than the water,” said Jutanugarn. “Somehow I hit it so good, so it’s over the water and it role back in the hole, like some hole. And then I got like free drop from that and make six.”

And when Jutanugarn stepped up to the tee on No. 11, she again walked to a bunker to hit her approach, becoming even more familiar to the idiosyncrasies of the Clive Clark design. “I missed my tee shot again in the bunker and then I hit it again, so over the green. Pretty tough like up-and-down, so I make like 4 on that hole,” said the 12-time LPGA Tour winner. “So made me feel better because you know after doubles, will I be able to make par.”

Jutanugarn, who is aiming to join Nelly Korda with three wins in 2021, said there were still plenty of positives to still take from her third round heading into Sunday. “I still have so much fun today because like I have really good commitment but ball end up just not in the right place,” said Jutanugarn. “You know, it’s just not my good days but still have so much positive to go on.”

 

CHARLEY HULL THINKING OF “ANYTHING BUT GOLF” IN STANDOUT PERFORMANCE IN SCOTLAND

“Silent mind, that’s it. It’s the silent mind.”

For Charley Hull, the key to her strong performance this week at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open has been to “empty her mind.” Think of anything but the golf at hand. And even though it seems a little counterproductive (she said she couldn’t remember the number of birdies she posted or the exact shots used to make them), it’s certainly worked for the 25-year-old, who after a third-round 69 will play alongside Ariya Jutanugarn and Ryann O’Toole in the final grouping and tied for the tournament lead at -9.

“Just another day in the office as you say. But yeah should be a good day tomorrow,” said Hull. “I wasn’t really thinking much, not about golf, anyway. I was thinking about loads of other things but not golf.

It’s been 1,728 days since her first and only win on the LPGA Tour, at the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship. She didn’t look at leaderboards then, and the goal will be to continue that tradition as Hull makes her way through Dumbarnie Links.

“Back in 2016 when I won the CME I didn’t look at the leaderboard the whole week until I stepped on to the 18th green, and I looked and I was two shots ahead, and this week I haven’t really been looking at the leaderboard too much either. So yeah, I’m going to do that tomorrow,” said Hull. “My best weeks I usually do it and the other weeks I’m too nosey and I do look. So I’m learning not to be nosey and not look at the leaderboard.”

Hull said her game may be even better than it was back in her win in 2016, and hopes it translates into victory yet another victory.

“My golf game this year has probably been one of the best I’ve ever been. I put so much hard work into it in the winter,” said Hull. “But it’s my mind; I’ve been struggling very, like, mentally on and off the golf course but the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a lot better, so it comes into my golf.”

 

AIG WOMEN’S OPEN QUALIFYING UPDATE

There are five spots available this week at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open for the 2021 AIG Women’s Open, to be held Aug. 19-22 at Carnoustie. The five spots will be determined by the players with the five lowest scores after 72 holes at this week’s Women’s Scottish Open. In the case of a tie for the fifth position, a series of tiebreakers have been set to determine the final qualifier. If one of the qualifiers elects to not play in the AIG Women’s Open, the spot will not go down to the next available player. Any unused spots will be allocated to Final Qualifying on the Monday of the AIG Women’s Open.

The qualifying leaderboard through the third round is as follows:

  • T1, Kelsey MacDonald (-5)
  • 2, Karolin Lampert (-4)
  • T3, Paula Reto (-2)
  • T3, Prima Thammaraks, (-2)
  • T5, Jing Yan (E)
  • T5, Whitney Hillier (E)