Pierce erased a four-stroke deficit
April 17, 2022 by Anthony Mikos in News, Recap with comments
APPLING, Ga. — Moving day lived up to its name at W.R. Jackson during round three of the Champions Cup. The FPO division saw a lot of shake up in the top half of the leaderboard with an aggressive push for the top.
Entering the day, Kristin Tattar had a favorable four stroke lead against the field. Early in the round, the lead slimmed before extending out to five strokes. And then it was gone.
Paige Pierce packed her bags and got moving, matching her best round of the weekend at 4-under par. Pierce was able to close the gap and sits in a tie for first place at 8-under with Tattar. Her round got off to a hot start as she hit two Circle 2 putts. Her presence on the greens were felt throughout her round, where she cashed in on 88% of her Circle 1 looks. Her mental game was on sharp display as she was able to quickly turn around and negate mistakes. Pierce should be seen as the favorite to win yet another major after posting two of the hottest rounds of the tournament.
Tattar, though, is clearly capable of winning her second major. She will need to have a better day putting — she missed half her Circle 1X putts and went just 1/8 from Circle 2.
The Course Shows Its Teeth
From the beginning of the tournament, the course has progressively challenged the field more and more. Whether due to players throwing more aggressive lines to make up positions or the taxing mental strength it takes to compete at this high of a level, W.R. Jackson is taking no prisoners. Of the 40 competitors in the field, only two went under par on Saturday, with the rest of the field averaging +6.23 over par. Today’s rainy conditions early in the round surely did not help matters, but every day, the strokes over par have doubled, and it is reflected in the inconsistencies on the cards. Such big swings in scores will set up for a prime Championship Sunday where the winner will truly have to earn the first major of the year.
After a strong second day performance, the Mandujano sisters could not rediscover the rhythm on Saturday. Entering the afternoon, Alexis was sitting at 2-under par and found herself on the lead card. The story of the third round was drastically different. Her game never got going: she started 7-over through the front nine. With the wind out of her sails, she was never able to bounce back and dropped to 10th on the leaderboard. What was once a podium hopeful is now battling at 4-over par. Valerie had a bit of better luck but has seen much stronger golf from the previous days. Her 3-over performance keeps her on the chase card for the final round, where she is still in striking range of a potential podium finish.
Forehand Friendly Forest
Surging into solo third is forehand dominant Sarah Hokom. However, Hokom has pulled the backhand several times this weekend and is continuing to incorporate it into her game. She has played very consistent golf over the past several days and has been hanging around the lead card. On moving day, her approach game was dialed in: she posted a perfect scramble rate of 100% (5/5). Both bogeys on her round was immediately answered with birdies, and she played clean golf throughout. Hokom sits 1-under and will be looking to hold onto her podium spot.
You have to go back to 2019 to find the last time that players were tied heading into the final round of a major. Those players? Kristin Tattar and Paige Pierce at the 2019 US Women’s Championship. Tattar would go on to win her first-ever major that weekend.
“With two rounds to play I was hopeful that I could make it up but I would be lying if I said that I could do it in one round. It can happen out there in two holes. Kristin is a very, very consistent player, and she doesn’t really find trouble too often. I knew that I was going to have to play lights out” –Paige Pierce on her round three performance
Round Three Highlights