ONEIDA, Wis. — Sei Young Kim shot an 8-under-par 64 in the third round of Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on Saturday to tie the 54-hole record of 24 under and take a commanding eight-stroke lead.
Kim, who had a 63 on Thursday and a 65 on Friday, got rolling with an eagle on No. 3 and added six birdies. A birdie on No. 16 tied Annika Sorenstam’s 24 under at the Mizuno Classic in Japan in 2003. After Kim missed a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th, she hit her tee shot on the 390-yard 18th into the left rough. Her approach was well short of the hole, and her birdie putt missed badly. She made a testy putt to save par.
Kim will take aim at Sorenstam’s 72-hole record of 27-under par, set at the Standard Register Ping in 2001 in Phoenix. Kim will need a 4-under 68 on Sunday to break that record.
Kim said she will not be nervous.
“I just want to keep challenging myself and what I can do,” she said. “Even if I break it, I’ll keep (making) the challenges higher. That’s my goal.”
Amy Yang is a distant second at 16 under after shooting a 5-under 67. Eight players are within two shots of Yang but 10 shots of the record-setting Kim.
Tiger, Phil talking $10 million match
Would you watch a $10 million winner-take-all golf showdown between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson? The two former rivals are in negotiations to play such a match according to a report Friday by Golf.com.
There have been murmurs of some sort of exhibition between the two golfers going back to the Players Championship in May, when they were grouped for the first two rounds and Mickelson suggested they skip “the ancillary stuff of a tournament and just go head-to-head and just have kind of a high-stakes, winner-take-all match.”
When presented later with the idea, Woods didn’t shoot it down.
“I’m definitely not against that,” he said then. “We’ll play for whatever makes him uncomfortable.”
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, declined to comment Friday on the report. Mickelson’s agent, Steve Loy, could not be reached.
But Mickelson, who is playing at the Greenbrier tournament this week, told Golf.com that the original plan was to play the match in Las Vegas this past Tuesday, but all of the various television, marketing and financial details could not be worked out in time.
“We’re working on a different date,” Mickelson said. “I thought it was done for the third, but obviously it wasn’t.”
Although both players have amassed fortunes, Mickelson said the $10 million amount is enough to get their attention.
“It’s a ridiculous amount of money,” Mickelson said. “No matter how much money you have, this amount will take both of us out of our comfort zone.”
Woods, 42, and Mickelson, 48, have had a long rivalry that dates to their junior golf days in Southern California. At times, their relationship has been frosty; the 2004 Ryder Cup when they were paired together — and lost both matches — often is cited as an example.
But in recent years, their relationship has mellowed. They’ve become more friends than foes, thanks in part to their work together as part of the U.S. Ryder Cup effort. Following Mickelson’s controversial comments at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, where he criticized the PGA of America and captain, Tom Watson big changes were made.
As part of those, a Ryder Cup committee evolved, and its two permanent members are Woods and Mickelson.
Also unknown, until Woods disclosed it, was that Mickelson had reached out to offer help when Woods was struggling with his back issues.
“Phil and I have a great banter,” Woods said at the Players Championship in May. “We give each other the needle, we always have. But I think our relationship has certainly gotten a lot closer with me being a vice captain the last couple teams and sitting there and having very lengthy conversations with him about things, not just the pairings but just things in general.
“When I was trying to deal with the nerve [pain] in my back and trying to come back and play and I wasn’t very good, he always texted me some very encouraging words. And then on top of that, when you guys all saw how I was chipping so poorly, my nerve and my back was not going very good, and I was flinching a lot, and he offered numerous times to help me out with technique and just talk about philosophy.”
Mickelson told Golf.com that he hopes the match leads to more exhibitions between the two golfers. And while there is a reported $10 million on the line to the winner, it is more than likely that both players will walk away with a hefty sum due to the selling of sponsorships, marketing and television rights.
As for official golf, after the Greenbrier, Mickelson is scheduled to play a practice round Monday at the site of the Ryder Cup in France as well as a practice round at Carnoustie, site of The Open in two weeks. Mickelson is playing next week’s Scottish Open, and Woods’ next start will be The Open.