Furue keeps cool under sweltering heat to lead in Singapore

golf02 March 2024 09:04| © AFP
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Ayaka Furue © Gallo Images

Japan's Ayaka Furue moved atop the leaderboard with her third-round four-under-par 68 at the HSBC Women's World Championship on Saturday, keeping cool under sweltering conditions in Singapore.

Furue holds a two-shot lead over Australia's Hannah Green (67) with overnight leader Celine Boutier of France and American Andrea Lee a further shot back in equal third place after signing for rounds of 72 and 67, respectively.

The 23-year-old Furue, who is chasing her first LPGA victory since 2022, showed her resolve to end her two-year drought by storming out of the blocks with a pair of birdies on holes one and two.

After making pars on holes three and four, she made her way up the leaderboard with birdies on the fifth and seventh holes to reach the turn in 32.

A bogey on the 12th hole proved to be her only blemish as she responded with another birdie on the next hole before carding five straight pars to close with a three-day total of 10-under-par 206.

"The birdies on my front-nine holes just kind of kept my momentum going. So, that was really good for me. I was only thinking of catching up with Celine today and making birdies," said Furue.

She said it was difficult to read the green on day one.

"But after playing the first day, I kind of maintained my putting," Furue added.

"I'll continue to keep my energy and focus tomorrow but right now, I just feel excited to be on the top of the leaderboard."

Defending champion Ko Jin-young, who is gunning for an unprecedented hat-trick of titles at the championship, moved into contention with a 66 after starting slowly with earlier rounds of 71 and 73.

"It'll be a great honour if I do win tomorrow. I will do my best tomorrow and be more patient. And, if I manage to do that, I will buy a house in Singapore! But I heard it's really expensive here," quipped the South Korean.

World No 1 Lilia Vu of the United States also made up for a disappointing day on Friday by bouncing back with a 68 to stay five shots behind Furue in tied-ninth place.

"Yesterday was really not a good putting day for me. I knew that was not me. I was just waiting for today to come so I could make more birdies," said Vu.


206 – Ayaka Furue (JPN) 71-67-68

208 – Hannah Green (AUS) 74-67-67

209 – Andrea Lee (USA) 70-72-67, Celine Boutier (FRA) 73-64-72

210 – Ko Jin-young (KOR) 71-73-66, Choi Hye-jin (KOR) 71-70-69, Chien Peiyun (TPE) 72-68-70, Nasa Hataoka (JPN) 71-69-70

211 – Lilia Vu (USA) 69-74-68, Brooke Henderson (CAN) 75-66-70, Sarah Schmelzel (USA) 68-72-71