Despite a bogey and a double on Nos. 7 and 8, Nanna Koerstz Madsen maintains the 54-hole advantage at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol. It’s just her third time leading or co-leading through three rounds and Koerstz Madsen currently sits at -14, ahead by three of rookie Na Rin An. The last two occasions that saw the Dane with the lead after Saturday were the 2021 AIG Women’s Open and this year’s Honda LPGA Thailand. While she wasn’t able to close on Sunday at Carnoustie, the playoff victory over Xiyu Lin has proved to open the floodgates for Nanna who finally feels like she belongs on the LPGA Tour.
“The AIG Women’s Open was really a good experience for me,” said Koerstz Madsen who finished T5 in the major championship last summer. “I think after the AIG Women’s Open, I really wanted to put myself in that position again, so I worked very hard to get there again. I do think it'll be easier going into tomorrow with a lead than it was in Thailand, but still going in with a lead you still want to win, so you still have all excitement in your body that you got control tomorrow.”
Koerstz Madsen’s three-day total of 202 marks the second lowest of her career, the lowest coming in Thailand at 195. Nanna’s third round 69 saw her make six birdies, including going back-to-back on 9 and 10, two holes that she was particularly proud of after a 3-over, two-hole stretch. “I played pretty good out there,” she said. “I had some tee shots that weren’t very good. Only made mistakes on 7 and 8 but bounced back quick from that. It does tell me that I've come a long way. Normally, I probably would've freaked out after 8. But I knew there were a lot of chances out there on the back nine as well.”
Sitting in solo second at -11, An closed with a triple bogey to round out her -3, 69. The Korean eagled the par-4 16th, this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole, and carded five other birdies on moving day, putting her in reach of that maiden LPGA Tour title.
Three players sit in a tie for third at -10: Canada’s Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko and 2021 Rolex First-Time winner Pajaree Anannarukarn. The 22-year-old Thai fired a 69 with four birdies and one bogey and will be relying heavily on that past experience in search of her second LPGA Tour title.
A party of five rounds out the top 10 at -9, highlighted by LPGA Tour winners Charley Hull and Nasa Hataoka as well as UCLA alum Lilia Vu, who fired the day’s low round of 67. Vu was one of three players to make a hole-in-one on the 97-yard, par-3, 3rd on Saturday, along with 2019 U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 and Malaysia’s Kelly Tan.