Chung mounts serious challenge, cuts Tanco's lead to one

Friday, July 3, 2009
Karen Chung watches her 7th fairway shot Friday, July 3, 2009, in the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions at Dalhousie Golf Club. (Kit Doyle)

Victoria Tanco vs. Karen Chung for all the marbles.

That's the way it's shaping up for the final round of the AJGA's Rolex Tournament of Champions at Dalhousie Golf Course.

Tanco relied on her consistency to hold onto her lead, but Karen Chung mounted a charge with a sizzling start to her round.

When the dust settled on Friday's third round, Tanco held a tenuous one-stroke lead.

Chung was a thoroughbred breaking from the gate to open her round. She birdied her first three holes and cruised around her first nine holes in 5-under par. She took a page from the Tanco strategy book over the next eight holes, carding par after par. She capped her round with a birdie on No. 9 to finish her round at 6 under and 8 under for the tournament.

Chung converted a key par save on No. 7, her 16th hole of the day. Her approach shot left her with a long birdie putt over a ridge, and her first putt went about 10 feet past the hole.

But Chung was unfazed. She managed to drain the par-saving putt to keep herself in contention.

While Chung was carving up Dalhousie, Tanco played well at the start as well. She played her first nine holes in 3 under to tighten her grip on the lead.

"From the first hole I try to hit good shots," she said.

No. 7 looked like a golden opportunity for Tanco when she smacked her second shot onto the green. She left her eagle putt about 5 feet from the hole, but missed that and had to settle for par.

"I try to forget it and not think about it," she said. "If you think about the putts you miss, it's worse."

But Tanco's misfortunes continued on No. 8 when she scored a bogey on the par-3 hole. She carded a par on No. 9, leaving her at 3 under for the round and 9 under for the tournament.

While Chung and Tanco traded clutch shots, no one else was able to mount a serious threat. Ani Gulugian, who won the tournament at Dalhousie last year, and Nicole Zhang, who entered the third round in second, sit tied for third at 2 under, seven shots off the lead.

There are only six players under par for the tournament.

That means it likely will be a showdown between Tanco, who has led after all three round, and Chung, who made a monster move to get into contention, duking it out today.

Tanco isn't worried.

"On the course, I just try to hit the shot that I want to hit," she said. "It's very nice to be in the lead and I hope tomorrow I can play good too."

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