5 storylines to watch in the final round of the AIG Women’s Open
After another wet day of golf at Carnoustie Golf Links, we are 18 holes away from crowning the final major champion of 2021. With 17 players within four shots of the lead, there will be no shortage of excitement over the final 18 holes of the AIG Women’s Open. Here are five storylines we’ll be keeping an eye on in the final round.
Nelly Korda chasing the leaders
Nelly Korda started the Women’s Open with a superb round of 67 to hold a share of the lead, but her two rounds since have been a bit flat. She fired rounds of 73 and 70 in Rounds 2 and 3 to stay in contention, but it’s been a far cry from the dominant run she had been on throughout the summer.
The good news for Korda is she’s only three shots back of the lead held by Anna Nordvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen at nine under. If Korda can put together a solid round ahead of the leaders tomorrow, she can put some serious pressure on the front runners as they navigate the diabolical closing stretch at Carnoustie.
A win would be an exclamation point on one of the best seasons we’ve seen in recent memory. Already this year Korda has become the top-ranked player in the world, won her first major and claimed a gold medal. Another major victory would cement 2021 in the record books for Korda as she’d become the first American woman to claim multiple majors in a single season since Juli Inkster accomplished the feat in 1999.
Louise Duncan making a run as an amateur
Louise Duncan is making her major debut this week at the Women’s Open, and thus far, she’s made it a memorable one. The 21-year-old sits T4 through three rounds and is just two shots off the lead heading into the final round.
“To have everyone supporting me and cheering me on, like that is just phenomenal,” Duncan said. “And to be sitting only two shots behind currently, feels great. I can’t wait to get going tomorrow.”
Duncan will play in the third-to-last group tomorrow alongside Madelene Sagstrom as she looks for an unprecedented win in her major championship debut. Will we witness history tomorrow?
Lizette Salas trying to break through
Lizette Salas is the consummate journeywoman, playing for 10 seasons on the LPGA Tour, making four Solheim Cup teams and winning once in her career. But a win in a major championship has always alluded her.
Now playing in her eighth Women’s Open, Salas is in position to make a major championship breakthrough. She’s alone in third after three rounds and just one behind the leaders as she readies to battle through 18 holes on Sunday.
“Ten years out here, I should have some experience in playing in these conditions,” Salas said. “I think that just really fits my game as far as hitting fairways and greens … Everyone has a different game plan and I’m just sticking to mine. I know what my capabilities are and what I can hit and what I can’t hit. I feel pretty good.”
Salas came agonizingly close to winning this championship in 2019, and she finished runner-up to Nelly Korda at the KPMG Women’s PGA earlier this summer. This time, she’ll look to win a big one at last.
Lexi Thompson lurking
Lexi Thompson’s closing nine at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this summer was difficult to stomach, but so far, she’s shown no ill effects from the collapse as she’s in contention at a major yet again. After rounds of 69-70-70, Thompson is only two back in T4 with a round to play.
“I don’t feel like I have any point to prove. I feel like I’ve done that already in my career,” she said. “Things like the [U.S.] Open happen, but I played some great golf the whole week. I enjoyed every bit of it.”
What a statement it would be to add her second major victory just two months after the disaster at Olympic.
Can the leaders hang on?
Anna Nordvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen share the 54-hole lead at the Women’s Open, but the big question is if they can hang on for the win. Nordvist has won two major championships in her career, so the pressure should not be a factor for the Swede. But Madsen has never won on the LPGA Tour, let alone in a major championship.
With 17 players within four shots of the lead, the leaders will have little room for missteps on a penal Carnoustie setup. Will they be up for the challenge?