Epson Tour member Riley Rennell remains on top after the conclusion of the LPGA Q-Series third round. The Tennessee native lost her second-round co-leader, Manon De Roey, but gained a new one – Canadian Maddie Szeryk. The duo have shot 12-under after 54-holes at Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama.
Rennell had another solid day of golf, carding three birdies and a lone bogey. Although she felt some of the putts just weren’t falling, the 24-year-old gave herself some cushion over the first two days and reminded herself to stay patient and positive.
“It was like hanging in there type of day, so it was good,” said Rennell. “It's hard. It's a lot of golf, and you just have to take it one shot at a time. It's really hard to be present. You just have to find different things to distract yourself. I joke around with my caddie, and we just talk all kinds of goofy things.”
After qualifying for the two-week Q-Series through Stage II, Rennell is just happy to be competing.
“I'm going to just keep my same game plan,” said Rennell. “I really like those Robert Trent Jones golf courses, so I'm excited just to be here, too. It was tough for me getting through Stage II. It was a hard last day. It was really, really tough. But now I'm here. Doesn't matter if I'm first or 44th, I'm here.”
Joining Rennell, moving up the leaderboard from a second-round T3 finish, was Szeryk. The Canadian signed for another bogey-free round, shooting 4-under on the day.
“I made a couple birdies early and had a couple good par saves that kind of kept it going,” said Szeryk. “On the back nine, I think I just hit every green and had lots of birdie looks, but just the whole group was lipping out. It was just very steady [today].”
Szeryk spent some time on the LPGA Tour during the 2022 season, earning a season high T24 finish during her debut season. The rookie got a taste of playing among the best in the world and is determined to get back to that level through Q-Series.
“I think having been able to be out on the LPGA a little bit this year I can see like, oh, I really love it out there,” said Szeryk. “So just having that experience of knowing what it's like, I had two really good tournaments, and just being up there and just seeing the environment and knowing it's worth it, all the hard work. I just loved it out there. So that is really what's driven me to work really hard for this.”
First-and-second round co-leader, De Roey, slipped back into third place despite keeping a clean scorecard throughout the round. The Belgian went bogey-free, carding a lone birdie and signing for a 1-under round. Her 11-under tournament total puts the Ladies European Tour (LET) star in a good position to get back to the top.
“I’m just reminding myself that I need to hit good shots,” said De Roey. “I've been hitting good shots in general over the last few days, so I’m just going to keep doing that. I proved the first two days that I can roll in some putts here, so I think they will drop again tomorrow.”
Two shots behind the leading duo, sharing fourth place, were Polly Mack, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, Arpichaya Yubol, Lindy Duncan and Lauren Hartlage. The five finished the third round with a tournament total of 10-under. Standout rounds included a 6-under from Mack and Vongtaveelap, a bogey free 5-under from Yubol and a bogey free 4-under from Duncan.
The projected cutline jumped from even-par to 1-under, with 75 players potentially advancing into week two.
Erika Smith (+1, T83) on a bogey-free, -6 third round:
“I didn't really plan on doing it, but the game felt good. Everything kind of came together,” said Smith. “I think with every birdie you just kind of like hope for more. It kind of gives you momentum going into the next hole, and if you can just keep it together for every shot, every swing, then it ends up pretty good.”
Karen Chung (-6, T20) on preparing for the final round before the cut:
“I keep telling my friends this week, the first week is just about surviving, you just have to get on to the second week. It feels great to see my putter rolling, a lot better than it’s been the past couple of days, so I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings.”
Polly Mack (-10, T4) on 4 consecutive birdies at the beginning of her round:
“It felt good, especially I was surprised putting went that well. I worked hard to get my mental situation going on putting and I'm really, really happy that that worked, that I found something for myself again. Seeing some putts going in, especially in the beginning of the round, helped my confidence, yeah.”
Isi Gabsa (-5, T25) on a bogey-free, -6 third round:
“I was very happy to bring it into the clubhouse with bogey-free and shooting 6-under after having like two, not rough starts, but just not playing as I want to play, of course. We are only three-eighths of the way, so there is so much golf left. I'm trying to see it as two separate tournaments, so I’m just trying to focus on the good things and keeping the good things going. You always make mistakes, and you always have to keep going, so it's nothing new.”