Ko shot a 67 Saturday to go 16 under par through three rounds and holds a one-stroke lead at the LPGA JTBC Founders Cup at the Wildfire Golf Club. "Obviously there's going to be some nerves," Ko said. "Of course, it's there any time. I'm just going to play my own game. If somebody goes crazy-low like shooting 10-under, 9-under, it's not something I can control." Ko, who turned professional last October, won the CN Canadian Women's Open in 2012 and 2013, but she has never won in the United States. Her first victory in Canada made her the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history. She was 15 years, four months and two days old. In 2012, Ko captured Bing Lee/Samsung Women's New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Pro Golf Tour at the age of 14, becoming the youngest person to win on any pro tour. She has won five professional events, four while still an amateur. "It would be pretty special, especially at the Founders Cup," Ko said of a potential first pro LPGA win. "Without the founders, there would be no LPGA." Ko birdied two of the final four holes on the par-72, 6,583-yard course and is one stroke ahead of second-round leader Mirim Lee and Jessica Korda. Lee shot a 70 on Saturday and Korda, who has 12 birdies and no bogeys in her last two rounds, had a 66. Sun-Young Yoo bogeyed the final hole for a 68 and is two shots off the pace. Nineteen of the 74 players shot 67 or better Saturday, when the average score was 69.4. "The weather's been beautiful, not too windy," Korda said. "Gorgeous. Sun is out all day. It's perfect scoring conditions. A low score is going to take it tomorrow." Azahara Munoz and Michelle Wie are among a group of five who are three strokes off the lead at 203. Munoz birdied eight of her final 13 holes to shoot a no-bogey 64, one short of the course record. "It's just fun being in contention," said Wie, whose last victory came in the 2010 Canadian Open. Ko was two strokes behind second-round leader Lee, her playing partner, before a two-shot swing on the par-5 15th hole moved them into a tie. Lee put her drive into the desert left of the fairway and was forced to take an unplayable lie. She punched out onto the fairway and missed a 12-foot par putt after reaching the green. Ko reached the 15th in two and had a tap-in birdie to move into a tie for the lead. She went ahead on No. 17, when she rolled in a 10-foot birdie to finish a round that included four birdies, an eagle and a bogey. She hit a 5-wood to set up a 20-foot eagle on the par-5 fifth. "I thought it was going a little left of where I wanted it to go," Ko said, "but obviously it ended up really, really well. Nearly made an albatross (double eagle). That would be a first." Defending champion Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer are four strokes off the pace. Creamer birdied seven of eight holes, starting with No. 8, to threaten the course record, but a bogey on the par-14 16th hole brought her in at 64. "I played well enough to shoot 59 today, easily," Creamer said. "If you get hot out here, you can keep it going." Cristie Kerr, one of the first to tee off Saturday, tied a course record with a nine-under 63 and is five strokes behind Ko. Ai Miyazato set the course record with a 63 last year. Kerr, who needed a birdie on her 17th hole Friday to make the cut at 2-under through two rounds, birdied her first two holes and four of her first six en route to a 31 on the front side Saturday. She chipped in on the par-4 No. 12 and made a 20-foot eagle putt on No. 15. She tied the record with a 15-foot putt on the par-3 No. 17. Kerr's only Saturday bogey was a three-putt on No. 14. "I played great, I really did. You know there are low rounds out there if you play well and hang in there and play the weekend," said Kerr, who changed to Ping i25 irons this week after testing a new shaft at the Ping facility here 10 days ago. "Everything is just so much more consistent. I kind of changed up my putting routine (Saturday). I read the greens so much better today."
- Sports & Recreation
- Lydia Ko