Blue Bay LPGA winner could be over par

RSS

The Blue Bay LPGA might give the women’s tour something it hasn’t witnessed in 30 years.

It’s a distinct possibility that someone will post the highest total score by a winner outside of a major championship since 1985.

Through 54 holes on Hainan Island in China, nobody’s left under par.

Sei Young Kim and Candie Kung share the lead at even-par 216. With winds ripping across the Jian Lake Blue Bay course, conditions have made scoring as tough as it’s been in the LPGA in years. Both leaders were over par in the third round, with Kim posting a 74 and Kung a 73.

Jan Stephenson won the GNA Classic at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif., in 1985 with a 2-over 290 total. Nobody has won an LPGA event that wasn’t a major championship with a total score that was over par since.

“It’s probably some of the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in, with the wind and this golf course,” said Stacy Lewis, who is one shot off the lead.

The combination of high winds and Jian Lake Blue Bay’s difficult, undulating greens has made birdies hard to come by. Only four players among the 78 left in the field broke par on Saturday. The third-round scoring average was 76.28.

“This is the toughest course I’ve ever played,” Kim said.

More wind is forecast for Sunday.

“I would like just simply to survive the day,” Kung said. “I won’t think too much about winning the title at this stage.”

The last winner of any LPGA event who was over par was Birdie Kim 10 years ago. She won the U.S. Women’s Open at Cherry Hills with a 3-over 287 total.