With 18 holes left to play, Leona Maguire and Lydia Ko have solidified themselves as the top contenders for the CME Group Tour Championship at -15 overall. Koe is bidding for her second Tour Championship win and 19th win on the Tour, while Maguire will be looking to add a second title to her resume since becoming a first-time Rolex winner at the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship.
It was an almost career day for Ireland’s Maguire, who started the day seven strokes behind the 18-and-36-hole leader Coe. She ultimately finished with a score of 9-under 63, free of a bogey, one short of the tournament record Ko set in the second round in 2016, and two short of her career. Maguire started with two putts at numbers 1 and 3, but pushed it into gear midway through the round, notching five in the six-hole stretch between the 8th and 13th holes.
“The hole was looking big, and I was trying to hit it as close as I could. I hit some nice hybrids of the 5 and 6 on those few holes in the wind. I got called today,” said Maguire, who made a 12 birdie and no bogey in her last 27. just yet. “The courier the last couple of weeks has been talking all about patience and patience and he’ll back off. Finally, they did it today, and that was amazing.”
Maguire made two more wickets on Nos. 16 and 17 to sleep off the third round lead/combined lead for the second time in her tour stint, and first since her win at Drive On. Sunday’s victory will take Maguire past $4 million in career earnings at $4,328,359, thanks to a $2 million check, the largest in women’s golf history.
“We’ll have to wait and see how bad it gets. Maybe a little rain, a little wind. Nothing I’m not used to from Ireland,” said Maguire, who will be making her third appearance in the season finale on the tour. Belt up today and just try to get out there and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Ko on Saturday was slower after a bogey-free 66 on Friday. She was even that day through her first nine holes after two bogeys, but made two birdies in the 10th and 15th to put herself in prime position and become only the second player to win the CME Group Tour Championship twice. With her win, Ko will win her second Rolex Player of the Year award, her second consecutive Vare Trophy and the official money title for the 2022 season. Upon winning this tournament, the Vare and POTY awards will also give Ko three LPGA Hall of Fame points, bringing the Kiwi closer to the required points. The number of 27 points and induction.
“It was a bit fresher today, but overall, I still think I played really hard. A few pitches here and there could be, should have. But, you know, it was one of those days where maybe it wasn’t much different. , but from not capitalizing on some of the par-5s and all that was probably the few shots that made a difference over the past couple of times,” Coe said. “I still feel like I’m hitting the ball hard, and when it’s windy, I feel like your margin of error is a lot smaller. Even if you don’t hit the greatest shots, they’ll be stressed out a bit more. I think that just makes it more difficult.”
Jeongyeon Lee6 and Jemma Dryburgh are third overall at -10. Dryburgh, who made her way to the CME Group Tour tournament after winning the TOTO Japan Classic, was in Sunday’s penultimate group after a 3-under 69, looking to chase down the leaders in her debut in Naples.
“Just taking the confidence from Japan to this week. I was swinging really well and keeping well too, so just have all that confidence for the time being,” Dryburgh said. “And it was fun getting into contention. You never know what could happen tomorrow.”
A pair of major champions in Brooke Henderson and Anna Nordqvist round out the top five at -9. Four players sit tied for seventh at -8 overall, including 2022 Tour winners Heo Joo Kim and Daniel Kang. Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking No. 1 Nelly Korda took home Saturday with a score of +1, 73 and tied for 12th at -6. Defending champion Jin Young-koo won her first round in the 60s this week, 3-under 69, to sit in a tie for 40th with Florida native and 2018 champion Lexi Thompson.