Wearing her own clothes and a beaming smile, Katherine Kirk says her third round of the women’s Australian Open golf tournament is as “good as it gets”.
Last week the 32-year-old Queenslander finished second at the Ladies Masters, despite playing the opening round using borrowed clubs and clothes after her bags didn’t arrive from the US in time.
But in the third round at Royal Melbourne Kirk looked all class as she posted six birdies to move to four under, three shots behind joint leaders Lydia Ko and another teenager, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
Kirk is the best of the Australian contingent with teen Minjee Lee next at even par after a one under in her third round.
“It’s definitely been better preparation than last week,” Kirk said.
“I’ve had three good rounds so far and I’m very happy to be in contention.”
In steamy conditions Kirk’s hot streak came on the back nine when she posted four consecutive birdies between 13 and 16 including a monster 11 metre putt on that last hole.
She also had three bogeys but said she’d take that on such a tough course.
Kirk said Royal Melbourne had the firmest greens she expected to compete on all year.
“I’m very happy with it because it’s not easy to make birdies out there and I made six.
“I made two long putts and they’re just bonuses but that’s probably as good as it gets today.
“You know this week that you’re going to make bogeys; it’s a tough golf course and they’re inevitable.
“My mindset all week has been just grind it out.”
The two-time LPGA Tour winner feels a first tournament victory since the ALPG Mount Broughton Classic in January 2011 isn’t far away.
“I was happy with how I struck the ball on Sunday so I brought that confidence into this week but when you’re playing a course as tough as this you don’t really have any expectation other than you just have to keep your head down and fight to the last hole,” Kirk said.