They didn't play much golf at St. Andrews on Saturday at the Ricoh Women's British Open and the leaders didn't even start their rounds until early this morning. I'm sure Cristie Kerr, who bogeyed 5 of her last 7 holes and still tied Lydia Ko for the low round of the day with a 75, wishes they had suspended play earlier.
But, let's face it, you had to be at the top of your game this morning, as well, to prevent St. Andrews from doing to you on your moving day what it did to so many on Thursday and Friday. Consider Na Yeon Choi, who could do no wrong as she opened 67-67 to take the halfway lead. Despite a double on 2 and a bogey on 9, she bounced back with 3 birdies in a row late on the front and was still double digits under par with 7 holes left to play. 4 bogeys and a birdie later and she was 2 shots behind leader Morgan Pressel, who herself bogeyed 15 and 16 but bounced back with a walkoff birdie to post a 71 that got her to -9 and gave her a 1-shot lead on Stacy Lewis, who herself bogeyed 16 and 17 to drop to -8 despite making 5 birdies in her 1st 15 holes of bogey-free golf. Exhibit 2 is Miki Saiki, who was -10 with 8 holes to go and also made 4 bogeys and a birdie coming home to join Choi, Hee Young Park (70), and Suzann Pettersen (72) at -7. Jee Young Lee had it even tougher, as she was -6 with 8 to play but made 2 doubles down the stretch to fall back to -2 for the week. Angela Stanford also posted a 40 on the back to drop back to -1 for the week. Solheim Cup hopefuls Gerina Piller (77, +4) and Michelle Wie (78, +6) also ran into serious trouble.
All of which makes the round of the day even more impressive. Catriona Matthew, who fell back to E for the week after bogeying her 1st 2 holes, bounced back with bogey-free golf the rest of the way, including birdies on 6, 10, 12, and 17 and a walkoff eagle on 18 to post a 31 on the back and a 68 on the day--and fight her way within 3 shots of Pressel's lead. Her heroics overshadowed a fine 70 by veteran Meena Lee (also -6 through 54 holes) that "only" included a walkoff birdie and by rookie Ayako Uehara (-3 for the week) that was capped off by 3 birdies in her last 5 holes, not to mention Lewis's 69 and Park's 70.
So if Inbee Park (74, T28) is going to make history today, she's going to have to go on a run like Matthew, hope all 8 golfers who are more than 5 shots ahead of her come back to the field, and hope nobody else just ahead of her outpaces her. It's hard to imagine that happening, but, hey, if the JLPGA's leading money winning can shoot an 86 in Saturday's high winds, I guess anything can happen if the winds come up this afternoon! (Although things do not look hopeful for the world #1 in early final-round scoring.)
[Update 1 (7:38 am): Am I right that Pressel, Lewis, Choi, Pettersen, Matthew, Ryu, and Creamer are all going for their 2nd major?]
[Update 2 (7:44 am): Whoops, just noticed that 19-year-old Mamiko Higa was -7 with 5 to play, doubled the par-5 14th and bogeyed the Road Hole, but bounced back with a walkoff birdie to finish at -5. Here's some background on the Okinawan, from her June JLPGA win and her 1st career victory in April.]
[Update 3 (8:05 am): Here's Ruthless Mike's take!]