By Ian Thompson
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
BIRMINGHAM — Former University of Alabama golfer Emma Talley and current Crimson Tide standout Kristen Gillman had to play 30 holes in hot and humid conditions on Saturday in the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek
Both completed their weather-affected second rounds and quickly turned around to complete Saturday’s third round.
After the second round was in the books, Gillman had shot a 74 to add to her 2-under-par opening round 70, to stand at even-par for the championship, and in a tie for 20th.
Talley turned her game around with a second-round 71, to go with her opening 74, and was one stroke higher than her playing partner Gillman. Talley started the third round in a tie for 25th.
And Jenny Suh, who played for UA in 2006-07, shot rounds of 76-79—155 to miss the cut.
Suh played on the LPGA Tour from 2011-15, but left the tour behind and is now an occasional golfer in her role as membership director at Dye Preserve in Jupiter, Florida.
Ariya Jutanugarn turned a three-shot deficit into a four-shot lead after shooting 5-under 67 Saturday. The 22-year-old from Thailand started the third round behind Australia’s Sarah Jane Smith, but quickly gained ground, making two birdies on her first three holes.
Jutanugarn took the lead after Smith stumbled with back-to-back bogeys and then surged ahead with three straight birdies on the back nine. She was at 12-under 204 for the tournament.
In the third round, Talley fired a 74 and Gillman shot a 75, which left both on 3-over for the championship and in a tie for 30th.
“It was a rough day,” Talley said. “This morning was great, I made the cut, but this afternoon I didn’t hit the ball as well as I’d like to. In the afternoon I made some mistakes. I know where you can’t miss it here (Shoal Creek is her home course), but I did and it was a grind.
“The course played hard and it was a long day. There’s no roll in the fairways and the greens are getting firmer and faster with the sub-air system they use here. I made a lot of pars, but not enough birdies,” she said of her two-birdie, four-bogey third round. I just didn’t hit my approach shots close enough.”
Gillman had a tough front nine of 41 in her third round, but battled back to shoot 34 on her back nine.
Three three-putts, and an approach shot into the water on No. 9 cost her five shots, but she got back in the right direction with birdies on Nos. 14 and 15.
“I’m never one to make excuses. I just played poorly (her front nine), but after that it wasn’t too bad. The front nine was not what I wanted, but I kept fighting to play my best. I try not to set goals going into the week, as I don’t want any boundaries, but my goal now is to be low amateur.”
She will need a low round Sunday to attain that goal as amateur Patty Tavatanakit is four ahead of her on 1-under for her three rounds.
Ariya Jutanugarn leads the championship after rounds of 67-70-67, 12-under-par, with overnight leader Sarah Jane Smith on eight-under in second.
The Associated Press contributed to this report