BELLEAIR, Fla. - A two-way tie atop the leaderboard in the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James has set the stage for an epic final-round showdown on Sunday at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 and Bradenton. Fla. native Nelly Korda recorded eight birdies on Saturday for a 7-under par 63. Eleven-time LPGA Tour champion Lexi Thompson found her way to six birdies to shoot a third-round 65. The two Americans are tied for the 54-hole lead at 16-under overall.
“Stay aggressive, as I have been,” said Korda, who hit 16 greens in regulation. “I’ve been hitting it really well and giving myself some good looks, so I’m going to take the same [gameplan] into tomorrow."
It's the first time since the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship that Thompson, a Delray Beach resident, can look into the gallery and see her mother, Judy. The proximity to home and friendly faces in the crowd provides a sense of peace for Thompson. The results are a signal of the work she has put into her game. Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin even took notice, mentioning Thompson’s putting is as good as she has ever seen it during Saturday’s livestream on the NBC Sports App.
“Having the family here, to grab dinner with them and see their support on the sidelines, it’s the best,” said Thompson, searching for her first win since the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. “I’ve been working extremely hard, putting at least two to three hours a day and putting at night in my house.
“It's the Perfect Practice putting mat, has the bigger hole and a small one with lines on it. It's right in my living room. Just stares at me. So, I'm like, I guess I should putt.”
Jennifer Kupcho sits solo third to round out the final grouping off No. 1 tee at 11:15 a.m. ET tomorrow. The third-year pro fired a 66 on moving day and had only one bogey on the scorecard at No. 18, which dropped her one shot back of the lead to 15-under overall.
Her game is in good shape. But to hang with Thompson and Korda in the final round, she will rely on another factor.
“I'm just really competitive. I always have been, and I think that's the biggest thing,” Kupcho said.
After matching 65s in the third round, Christina Kim and Sei Young Kim are in a share of fourth at -14. A pair of 64s from Patty Tavatanakit and Lydia Ko have them 13-under overall and tied for sixth. Leona Maguire (68) holds down outright eighth position, while Pornanong Phatlum (67) and Maria Fassi (68) are both -10 to complete the top 10.