Kia Classic - R3

Inbee Park grabs lead heading into final day

March 28-31
Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, California
$1,800,000
Round 1, Round 2, Round 4


South Korean Inbee Park drained a long birdie putt at the 18th hole on Saturday to grab a one-shot lead over Japan’s Nasa Hataoka.

Park, a seven-time major champion seeking to end a year-long title drought, carded her second straight five-under par 67 at Aviara.

Her 14-under par total of 202 put her one in front of Hataoka, who had eight birdies without a bogey in her 64 for 203.

Park, seeking a 20th LPGA title in this last event before the first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, said the key to her round was “a combination of consistency and the putting.”

“I holed some good putts, especially on the back nine,” she said. “Just the feel on the greens is really good this week and I really want to keep that going tomorrow.”

At age 20, Nasa Hataoka already has two LPGA Tour victories under her belt, capturing wins at the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the 2019 TOTO Japan Classic. The young Japanese phenom is certainly proud of those wins, but she also says that those victories in 54-hole events have left her craving her first 72-hole win. 

Heading into Sunday’s final round, Hataoka is in prime position to finally get that elusive full-length win. Her third-round 64, tied for the second-lowest round of her LPGA career and jumped her up the leaderboard into solo second at -13.

“I started out playing really well, attacking the pins, and had a lot of par saves as well, good par saves,” said Hataoka, who pointed to a 30-foot par save on No. 15 as the key moment in her Saturday round. “It was overall a good day.”


Thidapa Suwannapura finally won for the first time in her eight-year LPGA Tour career at the 2018 Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I. With the confidence of her win, Suwannapura is maintaining her composure at Aviara going into the final round. 

“I feel like anybody can have a good day and win tomorrow,” said Suwannapura, who played alongside World No. 1 Sung Hyun Park on Saturday. “I had a good day today. Just a little bit of putting on the lip and everything. A little bit of this and that.”

Suwannapura has been enjoying her week in Carlsbad and has found it easy to feel at home at her favorite local spots.

“I like the weather here and there is a restaurant that I like to go and always go. There is a smoothie place that I been there for four years in a row. I just walk in there and say, ‘Hi, I’m back,’ says Suwannapura, who usually orders a fresh fruit smoothie with acai and blueberries. “They know exactly what I want to order. It’s fun.”

Suwannapura will tee off in the penultimate group, just behind Park and Hataoka . But instead of feeling nervous, she said, “I would like to be chasing. I’ll do my best tomorrow and just do my best.”

Mi Jung Hur from the Republic of Korea set a personal best and the Kia Classic’s 18-hole scoring record on Saturday, carding a bogey-free 10-under 62; her lowest score previously was a 63 but the last time she shot that was in 2016. In Round 3, Hur birdied three of her first five holes and lit up the back nine making seven consecutive birdies on Nos. 11-17.

“Yeah, I got goosebumps. It was exciting playing the back nine,” said the 29-year-old, who hit nine of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. “I had great shots and great putts and made seven birdies in a row. I had another chance on 18 but I missed it. But I still like today’s round.”

Though Hur came off a disappointing 2018 season, her 13th-place finish at last week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup likely earns her a place in next week’s ANA Inspiration field. Hur feels positive heading into the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.

“Actually, you know, I wasn’t in the field next week, and then I had a good week last week and I got in the field next week, which is a major and I love to play at the ANA,” said Hur, whose best finish at the ANA Inspiration is T14 in 2016 and 2017. “With this momentum, if I keep this momentum to next week I think it’s going to be good happen to me for future.”

With a win …

With the $270,000 winner’s check, Inbee Park would move from sixth to fourth on the LPGA Career Money List with $14,878,088, passing Suzann Pettersen (fifth, $14,831,968) and Lorena Ochoa (fourth, $14,863,331)

Park would earn her 20th career LPGA Tour victory, moving her into a tie for 26th with Laura Davies and Cristie Kerr

Nasa Hataoka would earn her third career LPGA Tour victory, joining fellow Japanese player Haru Nomura at that mark; the only Japanese players with more victories are Ayako Okamoto (17), Ai Miyazato (nine) and Hiromi Kobayashi (four)

Thidapa Suwannapura would become just the second Thai player with more than one LPGA Tour victory, joining Ariya Jutanugarn (10)

Player Notes

Rolex Rankings No. 8 Inbee Park (68-67-67)

Park’s second- and third-round 67s are her second lowest rounds of the 2019 LPGA Tour season, she shot a 66 in the second round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup 

She hit 12 of 14 greens and 13 of 18 fairways, with 26 putts

Park is in her 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she is a 19-time winner including seven majors, with her last win coming at the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup 

This is Park’s third event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is 14th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship

She is competing in her 10th Kia Classic; her best finish is second in 2010 and 2016, with two additional top-10s and four top-20 finishes 

Rolex Rankings No. 7 Nasa Hataoka (69-70-64)

Hataoka’s third-round 64 is her next lowest round of her career; she shot a career-low 63 in the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens

Hataoka is in her third season on the LPG Tour; she is a two-time winner—her last win was at the 2018 TOTO Japan Classic

This is Hataoka’s fourth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is T16 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America 

Hataoka is competing in her third Kia Classic; her best finish is T58 in 2018, with a T59 finish in 2017 

Rolex Rankings No. 90 Thidapa Suwannapura (68-66-70)

Suwannapura’s 54-hole 203 is tied for the lowest 54-hole score of her LPGA Tour career; she shot 203 at the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, where she went on to finish T18

She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 28 putts

Suwannapura is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour; she has one victory at the 2018 Marathon Classic and two other top-10 finishes

This is Suwannapura’s seventh event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is T17 at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and has yet to miss a single cut

She is competing in her seventh Kia Classic; her best finish is T26 in 2018


Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
1
Inbee Park
-14
68
67
67
202
2
Nasa Hataoka
-13
69
70
64
203
3
Thidapa Suwannapura
-12
68
66
70
204
T4
Mi Jung Hur
-11
74
69
62
205
T4
Sung Hyun Park
-11
68
66
71
205
T6
Azahara Munoz
-10
70
68
68
206
T6
Gaby Lopez
-10
68
70
68
206
T6
Mariajo Uribe
-10
68
69
69
206
T9
Jing Yan
-9
68
73
66
207
T9
Lydia Ko
-9
71
69
67
207
T9
Chella Choi
-9
65
70
72
207
T12
Danielle Kang
-8
72
70
66
208
T12
Jin Young Ko
-8
68
73
67
208
T12
Stacy Lewis
-8
71
68
69
208
T15
Jeongeun Lee6
-7
73
67
69
209
T15
Celine Boutier
-7
69
70
70
209
T15
Minjee Lee
-7
68
69
72
209
T18
Jenny Shin
-6
71
71
68
210
T18
Haru Nomura
-6
68
74
68
210
T18
Mi Hyang Lee
-6
71
69
70
210
T18
In-Kyung Kim
-6
70
70
70
210
T22
Cristie Kerr
-5
74
71
66
211
T22
Pernilla Lindberg
-5
73
70
68
211
T22
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
-5
72
70
69
211
T22
Shanshan Feng
-5
70
72
69
211
T22
Katherine Kirk
-5
72
69
70
211
T22
Sei Young Kim
-5
68
73
70
211
T22
Xiyu Lin
-5
71
68
72
211
T22
Lindy Duncan
-5
68
71
72
211
T30
Hyo Joo Kim
-4
70
72
70
212
T30
Mirim Lee
-4
73
68
71
212
T30
Brittany Lang
-4
72
69
71
212
T30
Kristen Gillman
-4
71
70
71
212
T30
Morgan Pressel
-4
68
73
71
212
T35
Caroline Masson
-3
72
73
68
213
T35
Christina Kim
-3
72
72
69
213
T35
Amy Yang
-3
72
71
70
213
T35
Moriya Jutanugarn
-3
71
71
71
213
T35
Nicole Broch Larsen
-3
70
71
72
213
T35
Eun-Hee Ji
-3
69
70
74
213
T35
Stephanie Meadow
-3
67
72
74
213
T42
Jaye Marie Green
-2
76
69
69
214
T42
Anne van Dam
-2
73
72
69
214
T42
Sarah Schmelzel
-2
68
76
70
214
T42
Ryann O’Toole
-2
68
76
70
214
T42
Dani Holmqvist
-2
72
71
71
214
T42
Brittany Altomare
-2
72
71
71
214
T42
Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong
-2
72
70
72
214
T42
Ariya Jutanugarn
-2
68
72
74
214
T42
Mel Reid
-2
70
69
75
214
T51
Hee Young Park
-1
70
75
70
215
T51
Hannah Green
-1
73
71
71
215
T51
Anne-Catherine Tanguay
-1
76
67
72
215
T51
Kris Tamulis
-1
75
68
72
215
T51
Jane Park
-1
72
70
73
215
T51
Bronte Law
-1
72
70
73
215
T57
Dana Finkelstein
E
78
67
71
216
T57
Haeji Kang
E
70
75
71
216
T57
Mina Harigae
E
74
70
72
216
T57
Lexi Thompson
E
73
71
72
216
T57
Yu Liu
E
71
72
73
216
T57
Ayako Uehara
E
69
73
74
216
T57
Peiyun Chien
E
72
69
75
216
T64
Anna Nordqvist
1
72
73
72
217
T64
Alison Lee
1
72
72
73
217
T64
Gerina Piller
1
72
72
73
217
T64
Austin Ernst
1
69
75
73
217
T64
Sakura Yokomine
1
72
71
74
217
T64
In Gee Chun
1
70
70
77
217
T70
Marissa Steen
2
75
70
73
218
T70
Wei-Ling Hsu
2
71
74
73
218
T70
Lee-Anne Pace
2
71
73
74
218
T70
Lauren Stephenson
2
70
74
74
218
T70
Mo Martin
2
69
74
75
218
75
Clariss Guce
3
69
72
78
219
T76
Charlotte Thomas
5
73
72
76
221
T76
Tiffany Chan
5
70
72
79
221
78
Dori Carter
6
74
70
78
222
CUT
Annie Park
2
75
71
CUT
Ashleigh Buhai
2
74
72
CUT
Amy Olson
2
74
72
CUT
Beatriz Recari
2
74
72
CUT
Lizette Salas
2
74
72
CUT
Emma Talley
2
74
72
CUT
Brianna Do
2
73
73
CUT
Kendall Dye
2
73
73
CUT
Sandra Gal
2
73
73
CUT
Alana Uriell
2
73
73
CUT
Jacqui Concolino
2
72
74
CUT
Daniela Darquea
2
72
74
CUT
Catriona Matthew
2
72
74
CUT
Pornanong Phatlum
2
70
76
CUT
Brooke M. Henderson
2
69
77
CUT
Lindsey Weaver
3
76
71
CUT
Dottie Ardina
3
75
72
CUT
Marina Alex
3
74
73
CUT
Lauren Kim
3
73
74
CUT
So Yeon Ryu
3
73
74
CUT
Ally McDonald
3
72
75
CUT
Wichanee Meechai
3
72
75
CUT
Megan Khang
3
70
77
CUT
Linnea Strom
3
70
77
CUT
Elizabeth Szokol
4
77
71
CUT
Jeong Eun Lee
4
76
72
CUT
Mariel Galdiano (a)
4
75
73
CUT
Pavarisa Yoktuan
4
75
73
CUT
Klara Spilkova
4
73
75
CUT
Benyapa Niphatsophon
4
70
78
CUT
Isi Gabsa
5
81
68
CUT
Ji Hyun Oh
5
78
71
CUT
Karine Icher
5
76
73
CUT
Joanna Klatten
5
76
73
CUT
Maria Torres
5
76
73
CUT
Becca Huffer
5
75
74
CUT
Jaclyn Lee
5
75
74
CUT
Brittany Marchand
5
75
74
CUT
Celine Herbin
6
78
72
CUT
Jackie Stoelting
6
78
72
CUT
Laura Gonzalez Escallon
6
77
73
CUT
Angela Stanford
6
76
74
CUT
Lilia Vu
6
75
75
CUT
Gemma Dryburgh
6
74
76
CUT
Mariah Stackhouse
6
74
76
CUT
Juli Inkster
6
72
78
CUT
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
7
77
74
CUT
Katherine Perry
7
77
74
CUT
Tiffany Joh
7
76
75
CUT
Ruixin Liu
7
76
75
CUT
Jennifer Song
7
76
75
CUT
Carlota Ciganda
7
73
78
CUT
Youngin Chun
8
77
75
CUT
Kim Kaufman
8
75
77
CUT
Madelene Sagstrom
8
75
77
CUT
Alena Sharp
8
75
77
CUT
Jenny Haglund
8
74
78
CUT
Na Yeon Choi
8
73
79
CUT
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras
9
81
72
CUT
Laura Davies
10
78
76
CUT
Su Oh
10
76
78
CUT
Aditi Ashok
11
79
76
CUT
Brittany Lincicome
11
77
78
CUT
Sarah Jane Smith
15
81
78
WD
Yani Tseng
77
WD
Maddie McCrary
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