COQUITLAM, British Columbia — Lydia Ko took a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Canadian Women’s Open in her bid to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, shooting an even-par 72.
The 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander had an 8-under 208 total at The Vancouver Golf Club.
“It’s good to stay at the top of the leaderboard, but my first goal was to make the cut and hopefully top 15 or something,” Ko said. “But to be up there is just an honor, especially playing against the world’s best. Fifteen year olds don’t lead at an LPGA event all the time. Like I said, I’m very surprised. But I’ve been playing really good golf and I’ve been really confident with my game.”
Also trying to become the fifth amateur winner and first since JoAnne Carner in the 1969 Burdine’s Invitational, Ko won the U.S. Women’s Amateur two weeks ago. In January, she won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event.
Lexi Thompson is the youngest LPGA Tour winner, taking the Navistar LPGA Classic last September at 16.
Ko bogeyed the par-4 18th, making a 5-foot putt after her 4-foot par try lipped out. She finished the round with three birdies and three bogeys.
“Today I tried to have more fun, but my score wasn’t as good,” Ko said. “I mean, 72 is better than 73 or any other score, so I’m pretty happy.
“Tomorrow, I’m just going to try my best. I’ve got to play my own game. I can’t concentrate on what the other players are doing. If they shoot 66 and I shoot 68 and I lose, I can’t control what they do.”
Chella Choi, tied for the second-round lead with Ko, had a 73 to drop into a tie for second with Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park and Jiyai Shin. Lewis, a two-time winner this year, had a 66, Shin shot 69 and Park 70.
Lewis began the round seven strokes behind Ko and Choi.
“It’s the kind of course if you get some birdies early and kind of get rolling on the par 5s, you can shoot a good number,” Lewis said. “If you don’t, you’ll be struggling for pars. I mean, it’s a course that you can play well and shoot 1 or 2 under. So it’s just kind of the way the course plays, I think.”