HOYLAKE, England –- The $2.5 million Ricoh Women’s British Open has turned into a two-woman race. A very slow two-woman race.
Jiyai Shin maintained her grip at the top of the leaderboard after a 1-under 71 to move to 10 under for the championship. However, Karrie Webb has given herself a chance of winning her eighth major championship. The Australian posted a 4-under 68 to head into the final round just three shots behind Shin.
Despite a bogey-free, bunker-free second round, Shin struggled in the windy conditions that swept across Royal Liverpool in the third round. The 2008 champion bogeyed three of the last four holes of the front nine to come back to the field. She managed to reduce the damage with a birdie at No. 7.
However, three consecutive birdies from No. 11 got her back on track. She also birdied the par-5 18th to make up for a dropped shot at 17.
Webb only dropped one shot in her 68, a bogey at the tough par-4 3rd hole. She played the final 15 holes in 5 under to get into contention.
With Friday’s play abandoned due to strong winds, the field has been forced to play 36 holes today. They played in three balls from a two-tee start with no redraw for the fourth round.
Given the obvious urgency to get this tournament finished, you’d have expected the competitors to play as quickly as possible. Make that mission impossible. Shin and playing companions Inbee Park and Mika Miyazato took five hours and five minutes for 18 holes.
They were supposed to tee off at 1:40pm for the final round but that had to be pushed back 10 minutes because of the turgid pace of play.
So it should come down to a shootout between Webb and Shin. Hopefully it will end in regulation time. Given the snail-like pace, there might not be time for a playoff before darkness falls.