Oh leads as format queried in WPGA finale

Murray Wenzel |

Su Oh is bracing for a blind race to the finish in the maiden Australian WPGA Championship as officials consider calls to separate the women and men on the final day at Royal Queensland.

The new event is being held within the Australian PGA Championship, with the 24 women split into groups with the men in a format that had proved popular with players and fans.

That was until the weekend, when a three-horse race for the $180,000 winner’s cheque emerged between Oh (seven-under), Sarah Jane Smith and Grace Kim (both five-under).

The trio would normally be grouped together and could still be as officials met late on Saturday to mull over a potential change after Oh, who had quizzed the move on Friday, doubled down.

The LPGA member wasn’t aware she would take the lead into the final round until speaking to media after her three-under 68, which included a double bogey on the 14th.

“It’s going to be hard to know what the score is; I thought there were lots of leaderboards, but there’s only one on the ninth and maybe one or two on the back nine,” Oh said.

“So if we’re doing split groups again for the girls, it’s just going to be try your best and see where you end up I think.

“If you know what’s going on within the group you might change the way you play, which can be good, can be bad … which is interesting.”

Kim held the lead before she made double-bogey at 15, while Smith dropped two shots at 16 but birdied the last in what became a see-sawing battle.

Oh, 25, burst onto the scene with an Australian Masters win in just her second event as a professional in 2015 but hasn’t won a tournament since.

Kim, hopeful of earning full-time US tour status later this year, beat Oh to win the Sandbelt Invitational last month.

“It’s obviously really good to always be up there and to be able to chase someone is pretty exciting for tomorrow,” Kim said.

“It didn’t end it the way I wanted it to, but hopefully I’ll have a lot more pots drop in tomorrow.”