May 06, 2018: Nothing about this week has been conventional. Saturday was no different, but at least the weather cooperated at Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas.
The first round finally concluded around 5:30 p.m. while the second round got started at 3:30 p.m. The final round was suspended due to darkness at 8:15 p.m. and will resume at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.
India’s Aditi Ashok, 20, made five birdies over a six hole stretch in her final round from holes seven through 12 to get to 6-under. Ashok will pick up her final round on hole 15. She’d be the first from India to ever win on the LPGA.
“Sometimes I get off the golf course and I wish I had nine more holes because I’m playing so good and that kind of happened today,” said Ashok. “I was playing good towards the end of my first round and continued that into my second round. I got better with the speed of the greens and kept making putts.”
Ashok made ten birdies in the 32 holes she played on Saturday. Her putter was amazing. She attempted 23 putts over her first 18 holes and 18 so far on her first 14 holes of the final round.
“I’m just going to focus on my four holes Sunday and make the best of it that I can. Maybe it’ll be good enough to give the overnight leaders something to chase, but even then I’ve had such a good week that it has been fun.”
Ashok has two career top 10 finishes in her short two years on Tour.
Nicole Broch Larsen, a winner on the Ladies European Tour and the Symetra Tour, turned in a 67 in her first 18 of Saturday and then continued the momentum with two birdies in a clean first nine of her final round. She then made a clutch five foot par save to start the back nine. On hole four, her 31st of the day, she hit a beautiful chip on the par-5 to three feet and took the outright lead at 7-under with a birdie. She made par on hole five and did not tee off on six as the horns blew.
Approximately an hour after play concluded, Broch Larsen was assessed a one stroke penalty and therefore moved back into a share of the lead at 6-under. She breached Rule 18-2 (Ball at Rest Moved by Player) on the 4th hole. Her ball moved slightly as she addressed a chip shot just short of the green.
“It was really solid ball striking today and when I didn’t I had some good up and downs,” said Broch Larsen after coming in when the horns blew. “In the first round I felt like I left a few out there because I was only 1-under on the par-5 holes and all of them are reachable. Four-under was a solid start and then I’ve been patient on my second 18.”
She made critical par saves that kept her at the top.
“I’ve made some solid putts that have really kept me in it, if you miss some of those you can be out of it,” said Broch Larsen. “It has been a really solid day and a really long day too.”
Broch Larsen will have four holes remaining starting on the tee box at number six.
“Right now I’m tired, but when you play well it makes everything easier,” said Broch Larsen. “We knew we were going to play until it got dark so you’re kind of prepared for that mentally.”
Broch Larsen said she’d likely need two birdies on her last four holes to have a chance to win considering Jenny Shin and Sung Hyun Park still have 18 holes to play at 6-under.
“I’m just going to go home and see what pins I can attack,” said Broch Larsen. “Even if I don’t get those birdies you never know what could happen. I’m proud of how I’ve played and I’m really happy with where my game is right now.”
Gaby Lopez, another hopeful first time winner, is also at 6-under midway through her final round. She will have seven holes to finish on Sunday. Lopez posted a 68 in round one and made five birdies over her first 11 holes in her final round.
Jenny Shin and Sung Hyun Park each played four holes on Saturday morning as the first round resumed and finished at 6-under to share the first round lead. Neither started their final round. Shin will tee off at 12:41 p.m. while Park will tee at 12:19 p.m.
LPGA TOUR Release