Lemon wedges spark Nanna Koerstz Madsen at LPGA's LA Open

Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Lemon wedges spark Nanna Koerstz Madsen at LPGA's LA Open

LPGA Tour

Lemon wedges spark Nanna Koerstz Madsen at LPGA's LA Open

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LOS ANGELES – When Nanna Koerstz Madsen’s emotions start to get out of hand on the golf course, she sucks on a lemon. Seriously.

Koerstz Madsen pulled a lemon wedge out of her golf bag after three-putting the 11th hole at the HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open. She went on to play the next seven holes in three under, posting birdies on Nos. 15-17 at Wilshire Country Club. The Dane starting packing lemons this season at the suggestion of the national team’s mental coach.

“It’s like taking your senses away from whatever you’re on and thinking about this lemon,” said Koerstz Madsen, “which is really disgusting and not very nice.”

Koerstz Madsen trails Minjee Lee by one stroke heading into the final round in Los Angeles. Lee didn’t need a lemon to overcome an early-round triple-bogey. The 22-year-old Aussie has always been an even-keel type of player. Lee could’ve easily faded after making seven on the par-4 third hole. Instead she rallied with five more birdies to match Koerstz Madsen’s 67.

SCORES: LA Open leaderboard

“I felt like I was really hitting it well and playing pretty solid, even I guess to that point, so I just sort of tried to forget about it,” said Lee, who hit a tree on her second shot on No. 3. “What can you do that early in the round?”

Lee sits at 11-under 202 and looks to secure her fifth career LPGA title. Koerstz Madsen, who finished T-13 at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, was a rookie last year on the LPGA, making nine cuts. She earned full status for the 2019 season at last year’s Q-Series and finds herself in the final group for the first time at an LPGA event. She looks to become the first Danish player to win on the LPGA.

“I mean, it’s always fun to be in the last group,” said Koerstz Madsen.“I haven’t been there that many times, and when I’ve been there I’ve got a little bit nervous and shaky. I was actually expecting today I would be more shaky.”

The greens will be the story on Sunday, as they’ve been throughout the week. When Inbee Park walks off a golf course puzzled, it’s not a good sign for everyone else.

Minjee Lee plays her second shot from the 16th hole on Saturday at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open at Wilshire Country Club on April 27, 2019 in Los Angeles. Photo: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

“It’s extremely hard to stay patient on these greens,” said Park. “I really feel like I should be 15-under par easily by now. These greens are just so complicated, and you can’t be aggressive or it’s either you leave it a foot short or you’re five feet by.”

Park finished second at this event last year and is currently solo third at 7 under, four strokes back of Lee. World No. 1 Jin Young Ko also sits within striking distance at 6 under along with Morgan Pressel, Annie Park, Megan Khang, Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang.

“Got to get out here and make some birdies, but also play smart,” said Pressel of the Sunday game plan. “You make doubles out here by short siding yourself in the wrong place. It’s easy to do. Sometimes a 20, 30-footer up the hill can be better than a 5-, 6-, 7-footer down the hill. Just playing to the right spot on the greens is really important.”

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