Lilia Vu Has Fourth 2023 Win at Steak on Sunday at Pelican Golf Club | LPGA

BELLEAIR, Fla. — A lot of players on the LPGA Tour have superstitions, and two-time major champion Lilia Vu is no exception. The 26-year-old carded a bogey-free, 8-under 62 on Moving Day at The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, her lowest round of the 2023 LPGA Tour season, besting her previous benchmark of 64, which she shot on Sunday at the Honda LPGA Thailand en route to victory, by two shots. When asked what the secret was to her success at Pelican Golf Club, Vu gave credit to her dinner last night as the reason for the good mojo she found on Saturday in Belleair, Fla.

“Cole (Pensanti), my caddie is gonna love this. I think we played well because I had Texas Roadhouse last night. I might have to go back. I just love Texas Roadhouse,” said Vu. “And then I have this theory that if I eat steak the night before a round, I’ll play really well. Here it is again, proving its point. If it’s not Texas Roadhouse, then I usually find a way to get steak. Next week I’ll have an Airbnb, so my mom will be making steak for me.”

Starting the day in a tie for 10th at 7-under, Vu grabbed a birdie on her first hole of the round, making five consecutive pars before picking up another birdie on the par-5 7th hole. She snuck in one last birdie on the par-3 9th hole to close out the front nine in 32, now sitting at 10-under overall. Vu parred No. 10 and then recorded back-to-back birdies on holes 11 and 12 to move to 12-under, and after a pair of pars on 13 and 14, she made two more birdies on 15 and 16 before closing with a birdie on the par-4 18th hole to post her new career-low round on the LPGA Tour.

The three-time Tour winner is sitting within five of the lead entering the final round for the fifth time this season, as she is currently in a tie for second with Amy Yang at 15-under, three shots behind 54-hole leader Emily Kristine Pedersen. In those four previous instances, Vu has gone on to win twice, defeating Angel Yin in a playoff at The Chevron Championship and winning by six shots over Charley Hull at the AIG Women’s Open.

With another weekend in contention on deck, Vu is looking forward to tracking down her fourth victory of the 2023 season and has an opportunity to join Celine Boutier as the only other player with four or more wins this year. She tends to be a player who enjoys chasing during the final round and hopes to record a barrage of birdies once again at what’s been an incredibly gettable Pelican Golf Club.

“So today I came in kind of like, oh, it’d be really fun to see how many birdies we can make,” said Vu, who has made 20 total birdies so far this week. “Even the process of reading a putt is really fun to me. I know, kind of a golf nerd, but I know nothing about golf, so it’s kind of weird. I think just the process of trying to make a birdie is really fun to me. I’m going to try and do that every hole tomorrow.”

While she’ll be eying her fourth career victory on Sunday, Vu also has the opportunity to take the lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race and cut into the 595-point deficit that stands between her and Boutier in the Race to the CME Globe. Some players might be watching those rankings incredibly closely with just one event left to make history, but Vu has purposefully avoided peeking at the numbers in an effort to not put pressure on herself both tomorrow and at next week’s CME Group Tour Championship.

“Some days, I have bad days thinking about putting too much pressure on myself. I kind of have to remind myself not to think about that, like winning Player of the Year or other stuff,” said Vu, who is trailing Boutier by just three points in the Rolex Player of the Year standings. “So I think if I just kind of make my goal really small for the day and then hit that goal every day and end up winning a tournament, it kind of just solves itself. Then I don’t have to think about that.”

As the 2023 starts to come to a close, there are definitely plenty of question marks about who will wind up taking home both accolades. But that’s something to think about next week.

For now, the real question is, how does Vu take her steak?

“Medium rare. Anything else is beef jerky.”


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