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January 18, 2020
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$1.5 million on the line at LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship

$1.5 million on the line at LPGA's CME Group Tour Championship
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NAPLES, Fla. — With the largest prize in the history of women’s golf on the line, the leaderboard at the CME Group Tour Championship is stacked. During the third round at Tiburon Golf Club, players like England’s Charley Hull climbed up the board while American Nelly Korda chased South Korean Sei Young Kim all day for the top spot. Sunday, the LPGA season will come to a finish.

But for now, there are still 18 holes that stand between one player and the $1.5 million winner’s check. For the final pairing of the final round, the race to $1.5 million will be close.

Here’s what to look out for in the final pairing of Sei Young Kim, Nelly Korda and Caroline Masson at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida:

Confidence is key for leader Sei Young Kim

Since day one of the CME Group Tour Championship, South Korean player Sei Young Kim found herself at the top of the leaderboard. Every day since, she’s remained there.

“I’ve got the confidence from the start of the Asian Swing, and then I played quite consistently,” Kim said after her third round. “This week I played quite consistently. Got a lot confident.”

Headed into the third round, Kim held a two-shot lead over Germany’s Caroline Masson. And it didn’t take long before the 26-year-old made strides, carding three one-putt birdies in her first seven holes. But despite finding all 18 greens in regulation, Kim’s putter momentum stalled on the back nine.

With only one birdie on the back, at No. 15, Kim finished with a 4-under 68 and a 16-under 200 for 54 holes (tying the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record).

“I had a pretty solid round front nine. I didn’t think about future. Just stay focused on what I have to do. That thinking make me good result,” Kim said. “But back nine was little tough to focus. I kept thinking about like future, so I was like, ‘Nope, Sei Young. Stop thinking. Focus on it.’ “

With a potential 10th LPGA Tour victory looming, Kim will be in the final group with the top American in the field, Korda. Luckily for Kim, it’s the best pairing she could ask for in a final round — especially as she chases a monumental victory that would make her the fourth Korean with at least 10 LPGA Tour victories, joining Se Ri Pak (25), Inbee Park (19) and Jiyai Shin (11).

“She’s (Nelly Korda) my favorite player. We going to play tomorrow and hopefully with a good, strong finish,” Kim said Saturday. “Just relax and enjoying tomorrow. Tomorrow whatever happens, and then I know that if I win that’s my career ten times win, but I don’t want to think about it. Just want to play well. That’s my biggest target.”

Nelly Korda’s chasing the bass drop and the $1.5 million

Before the CME Group Tour Championship started, all eyes were on Korda, the 21-year-old top-ranked American. Ranked No. 3 in the Rolex World Rankings, the youngest Korda sister knew there was pressure on her.

Heading into the third round, Korda was three shots behind Kim. And after a double bogey on No. 3, Korda knew that she had to step it up. It didn’t take long before Korda found her beat again, carding eight birdies and signing a 66 for the day.

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