Lydia Ko’s second 67 of the week in Phoenix, on the heels of her second-round 66, lifted her to the lead Saturday at the JTBC Founders Cup on the LPGA Tour.
Ko holds a one-shot lead at 16 under going into Sunday’s final round, with Jessica Korda and Mirim Lee tied in second.
Here are 5 Things to know about Saturday’s play at Wildfire Golf Club.
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1. KO-NSISTENT: Steady as she goes, Lydia Ko’s first three rounds have been either 5 or 6 under.
More specifically, Ko has attacked Wildfire’s closing stretch. At Nos. 15-18 for the week, the teenage rookie from New Zealand is 9 under.
What’s more, her only four bogeys of the week have come on two holes: twice at No. 5 (Thursday and Friday) and twice at No. 12 (Thursday and Saturday).
One reason she’s leading: Greens in regulation. With 43 this week, she’s slightly ahead of her 78 percent pace that has her fourth on Tour.
All things considered, Ko looks like a strong bet to improve on her positions of ninth in the Race to the CME Globe standings and 11th in money.
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2. LEE LETS UP: After leading the first two rounds, Mirim Lee slipped to second place with a 70 that saw her first two-bogey round of the week.
The South Korean had yet to make a bogey on Wildfire’s back nine through 36 holes, much less play it in more than 31. But seven pars against a birdie and a bogey Saturday left her with 36 and took away her advantage.
Lee stands to post her best LPGA finish yet, the rookie having finished T-25 at the Women’s Australian Open and T-33 at the Pure Silk LPGA Bahamas Classic.
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3. KORDA’S SECOND 66: Jessica Korda hasn’t made a bogey in 36 holes, carding her second straight 66 to climb to T-2 after opening with a 69 that saw her bogey the final hole of each nine Thursday.
Already a birdie machine at eighth on tour with 60 this season, Korda has added 15 more so far this week (plus an eagle Friday).
The winner in the Bahamas is looking to improve on her third-place standing in the Race to the CME Globe; she’s fourth in money.
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4. NOTABLES STILL IN MIX: Here’s one indication that the Founders Cup field is a strong one. Among the top 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, four of the top 10 players are within five shots of Ko (who’s ranked fourth):
- 2. Stacy Lewis: T-10, 12 under.
- 3. Inbee Park: T-13, 11 under.
- 5. So Yeon Ryu: T-5, 13 under.
- 9. Paula Creamer: T-10, 12 under.
Top-ranked Suzann Pettersen is T-42 at 6 under, while sixth-ranked Shanshan Feng is T-34 at 7 under and 10th-ranked I.K. Kim is T-61 at 4 under. Na Yeon Choi missed the cut while Sun-Ju Ahn did not start.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Chella Choi holed out from the fairway on No. 18 for a 68 to move to T-5 at 13 under. . . . Also T-5 with Ryu and Choi: Michelle Wie, Azahara Munoz and Amy Yang. . . . Morgan Pressel is T-10 alongside Creamer and Lewis. . . . Park, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr and Laura Davies are among seven players T-13 at 11 under.