LPGA - Tiffany Joh.jpg

Tiffany Joh of San Diego fired a 66 on Saturday to be one of four golfers to share the lead heading into the final round Sunday at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

Sung Hyun Park was three-fourths of the way to virtually wrapping up her second consecutive LPGA Tour victory Saturday in Oneida when the world's No. 1-ranked women's golfer swiftly and shockingly came back to the planet.

The South Korean hit her second shot on the par-5 15th hole into the water en route to a double-bogey and followed that up with a bogey on the next hole. After making seven birdies and one bogey over her first 14 holes in the third round, the 3-over stretch in just two holes left her with a 3-under-par 69 and dropped Park into a four-way tie for the 54-hole lead at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

What was starting to look like another record-setting runaway win by a red-hot golfer at the top of her game suddenly turned into a shootout entering the final round of what could be the the final installment of this third-year event.

China's Shanshan Feng (65) and American Tiffany Joh (66), playing partners Saturday and two of the more outgoing personalities in the women's game, were two of the recipients of Park's misfortune. They were already in the clubhouse at 20-under 196 along with Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn (67) and, once Park and playing partner Yealimi Noh (69), the Monday qualifier from Northern California who was one shot back at 19-under 197, finished their round, the number of golfers within five shots of the lead had swelled to 12.

To Park's credit, she saw a silver lining to the darkness at the end of her day.

"So the third round wasn't my best round, but I still am at the top of the leaderboard and there is still a chance for me to do well (Sunday)," said Park, the runner-up by one shot two weeks ago in Minnesota at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship before winning last week's Walmart NW Arkansas LPGA Championship with a birdie on the 72nd hole. "Although the leaderboard is crowded, I'll try my best (Sunday) and focus on every single shot."

Park's steely focus for 14 holes Saturday staked her to a three-shot lead. 

After bogeying No. 1 out of the blocks, she birdied Nos. 3 and 4, Nos. 6 and 7 and No. 9 to make the turn in 4-under 32. Park added birdies at Nos. 10 and 13 to get to 23-under and one birdie away from what would've been a share of the 54-hole scoring record with 2018 runaway winner Sei Young Kim.

That's when this birdie-filled tournament turned on a dime.

"I was just like, 'Wow, she makes mistakes too," Noh — a 17-year-old rookie playing her first LPGA event since turning professional in January — said of her playing partner's stumbles at Nos. 15 and 16, which let her back in it. "Obviously she's human, but it was surprising because she was playing so well. To see that double I was like, 'Oh, even the No. 1 player does that.'"

While it worked out well for Joh, she doesn't expect Park to do that again.

"It's nice that it's going to be a little bit of a horse race (Sunday)," said Joh, 32, a former UCLA golfer excited at the chance to chase down her first LPGA victory in her eighth year on the tour. "But, I mean, at the same time, like S.H. Park, I could like easily see her being on the 59 watch. So, yeah, there is still potential for her to run with it, but at the same time it's exciting that three days in we still have a pretty exciting golf tournament going on."

As the excitement builds in this third Thornberry LPGA Classic, tournament organizers — in the last of a three-year deal with the LPGA — have yet to announce if there will be a fourth. While the event has struggled to attract a few of women's golf's more recognizable names — Lexi Thompson has yet to pay a visit and fellow American Michelle Wie has been injured last year and this — those who have supported the Green Bay stop have come to love it.

"I'm staying with same host family here for three years," Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen, who shot 65 in the third round to get within six shots of the lead, said of Tim and Lorie Cisle. "I mean, I will probably call them my step-parents. They take care of me like I'm their daughter. So this is definitely a good place to come back to. ... They even hosted a barbecue on Monday night. They asked me to find 50, 60 caddies and players to come.

"I mean, they really enjoy having this event here. Yeah, I've stayed with them for three years and it's really nice."

LPGA Tour: 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic | Third-round results (Thornberry Creek at Oneida GC-Oneida)

Pos. CME
Start
STANDINGS
Projected
Player Total Thru Today R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
Wisconsin leaderboard
CUT - - Presley Cornelius (a) 55 96 103
Full leaderboard
T1 30 16 Shanshan Feng -20 F -7 64 67 65 196
T1 112 35 Tiffany Joh -20 F -6 64 66 66 196
T1 22 10 Ariya Jutanugarn -20 F -5 65 64 67 196
T1 3 1 Sung Hyun Park -20 F -3 65 62 69 196
5 - - Yealimi Noh -19 F -3 63 65 69 197
T6 14 13 Amy Yang -18 F -8 64 70 64 198
T6 96 79 Mina Harigae -18 F -4 67 63 68 198
8 61 52 Jing Yan -17 F -9 68 68 63 199
T9 20 20 Hyo Joo Kim -16 F -6 71 63 66 200
T9 89 T74 Alison Lee -16 F -5 65 68 67 200
T11 9 9 Eun-Hee Ji -15 F -6 68 67 66 201
T11 27 25 Gaby Lopez -15 F -4 66 67 68 201
T13 81 71 Nicole Broch Larsen -14 F -7 71 66 65 202
T13 99 92 Anne van Dam -14 F -7 69 68 65 202
T13 T38 37 Chella Choi -14 F -6 70 66 66 202
T13 T140 120 Dottie Ardina -14 F -5 68 67 67 202
T13 19 21 Celine Boutier -14 F -5 66 69 67 202
T13 113 T97 Tiffany Chan -14 F -5 64 71 67 202
T13 17 19 Yu Liu -14 F -1 62 69 71 202
T20 154 138 Karine Icher -13 F -8 71 68 64 203
T20 117 102 Giulia Molinaro -13 F -5 69 67 67 203
T20 44 42 Caroline Masson -13 F -3 66 68 69 203
T20 11 12 Carlota Ciganda -13 F -3 65 69 69 203
T20 35 36 Kristen Gillman -13 F -1 69 63 71 203
T25 66 62 Ryann O'Toole -12 F -5 73 64 67 204
T25 47 45 Mi Jung Hur -12 F -4 70 66 68 204
T25 48 46 Marina Alex -12 F -4 69 67 68 204
T25 - - Mind Muangkhumsakul -12 F -4 69 67 68 204
T25 148 128 Alana Uriell -12 F -3 68 67 69 204
T25 63 61 Lauren Stephenson -12 F -2 66 68 70 204
T25 T140 T124 Lee Lopez -12 F E 67 65 72 204
T32 13 14 Sei Young Kim -11 F -6 69 70 66 205
T32 132 119 Elizabeth Szokol -11 F -4 69 68 68 205
T32 78 T74 Ayako Uehara -11 F -4 69 68 68 205
T32 T55 53 Pornanong Phatlum -11 F -3 67 69 69 205
T32 43 41 Megan Khang -11 F -3 66 70 69 205
T32 36 38 Ally McDonald -11 F -2 65 70 70 205
T32 59 58 Anna Nordqvist -11 F -1 64 70 71 205
T39 65 64 Austin Ernst -10 F -3 67 70 69 206
T39 67 67 Jasmine Suwannapura -10 F -3 64 73 69 206
T39 T162 152 Cydney Clanton -10 F -2 65 71 70 206
T39 91 88 Jeong Eun Lee -10 F -2 63 73 70 206
T39 26 28 Moriya Jutanugarn -10 F E 65 69 72 206
T39 8 8 Nasa Hataoka -10 F E 64 70 72 206
T45 - 155 Kelly Tan -9 F -4 70 69 68 207
T45 23 24 Mi Hyang Lee -9 F -4 69 70 68 207
T45 - - Patty Tavatanakit -9 F -3 68 70 69 207
T45 150 142 Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras -9 F -3 68 70 69 207
T45 118 115 Lauren Kim -9 F -2 68 69 70 207
T45 131 123 Brianna Do -9 F E 68 67 72 207
T51 152 148 Brittany Marchand -8 F -3 73 66 69 208
T51 84 83 Aditi Ashok -8 F -3 70 69 69 208
T51 73 72 Pajaree Anannarukarn -8 F -3 69 70 69 208
T51 130 T124 Louise Ridderstrom -8 F -2 71 67 70 208
T51 98 100 Katherine Perry -8 F -2 68 70 70 208
T51 40 39 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -8 F -2 67 71 70 208
T51 97 99 Emma Talley -8 F E 69 67 72 208
T51 111 104 Jane Park -8 F E 66 70 72 208
T59 T105 103 Wichanee Meechai -7 F -2 69 70 70 209
T59 54 56 Charlotte Thomas -7 F -1 71 67 71 209
T61 88 T90 Hee Young Park -6 F -1 74 65 71 210
T61 69 69 Jennifer Song -6 F 1 66 71 73 210
T63 T162 T158 Youngin Chun -5 F 1 71 67 73 211
T63 119 121 Lee-Anne Pace -5 F 2 67 70 74 211
65 120 122 Pavarisa Yoktuan -4 F 1 68 71 73 212
66 - 167 Maddie McCrary -3 F 2 69 70 74 213
T67 144 145 P.K. Kongkraphan -2 F 3 71 68 75 214
T67 71 76 Maria Torres -2 F 3 71 68 75 214
69 T162 T163 Cheyenne Woods -1 F 4 71 68 76 215
70 136 140 Clariss Guce E F 5 69 70 77 216

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.