Olympic golf: Inbee Park leads heading into final round
Conditions and scoring were excellent over the first two days of the women’s individual stroke play in Rio, as 35 of the 60 players were under par. Unexpectedly, the winds were a major factor on Friday, as only 11 players broke par. One of those was Inbee Park or South Korea, who takes a two shot lead over Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Gerina Piller of the United States.
Park, who lead at the halfway point, started the day at ten-under par and had a clean opening six holes with three birdies and three pars. As conditions got increasingly difficult, Park struggled to stay on top. She went three over par over the next ten holes before regaining some rhythm with birdies on 16 and 17. A stumble to bogey on the par-5 eighteenth left her with a round of 70 and a one shot lead.
Number one player in the world Lydia Ko has been unspectacular for the most part over the first few rounds. She made a charge up the leader board today with a round of 65 which included no bogeys and a hole-in-one at the par-3 eighth. She is just two shots behind Inbee Park and in great position tomorrow to make a run at the gold. Gerina Piller is tied with Ko after a round of 68. A bogey at the final hole prevented Piller from holding second place by herself.
Shanshan Feng of China is alone in fourth at eight under par after a round of 68. Still in the mix but three shots behind Feng are the trio of Charley Hull, Hee Young Yang and In Gee Chun. South Korea could have all three players on the podium as Park, Yang and Chun all in the top seven heading into Saturday.
Seven players sit at four under par, including Stacy Lewis, Suzann Petterson, Anna Nordqvist, Minjee Lee and Brooke Henderson. Other notables who have fallen out of medal contention include Lexi Thompson, who shot a 76 and Aditi Ashok of India, who shot a 79. First round leader Ariya Jutanugarn struggled to 12 over par on the day after 13 holes before being forced to withdraw due to a knee injury.
Final round play begins tomorrow morning with the medal ceremony expected for middle to late afternoon.