SINGAPORE (AP) — Florida teenager Nelly Korda shot a third-round 7-under 65 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead at the LPGA Tour’s Women’s World Championship after Danielle Kang made her first bogeys of the tournament to slip back into second place.
Korda had eight birdies and one bogey as she finished on 15-under 201 heading into the final round at the Sentosa Golf Club.
Kang started the day leading by four strokes and finished trailing Korda by one after a 70. She dropped her first shot of the tournament on the 15th after going 50 holes without making a bogey, then made another mistake on 18.
“It actually doesn’t bother me. I wasn’t really thinking about whether I was going to be in the lead tomorrow or chasing, but Nelly had a really solid game today. She played really well. Any time you shoot 7-under, you play well,” Kang said. I didn’t want to finish on a bogey … but I gave myself a really good par chance and I ended up one shot behind the lead.”
Brooke Henderson had a bogey-free 65, matching Korda for the low round of the day, to join Minjee Lee (68) in a tie for third at 11-under after an extraordinary display with the putter.
“I had nine putts on the back nine, which is really awesome,” Henderson said. “Just a great day. and got up-and-down when I needed to and climbed the leaderboard as much as I did today, I’m very happy on moving day.”
Michelle Wie birdied four of her first five holes for a 66 to finish five shots adrift on 10-under, alongside Jessica Korda (68), Jin Yong Ko (67) and Marina Alex (70), who bogeyed three of her last four holes after briefly threatening for the lead.
Nelly Korda, 19, only joined the LPGA Tour last year and is chasing her first victory in what would be another incredible addition to her family’s remarkable sporting success.
Her younger brother Sebastian won the Australian Open junior boys’ singles tennis title in Melbourne in January, 20 years after their father Petr won the men’s senior Grand Slam title. Then last week, her sister Jessica won the LPGA Tour event in Thailand with a tournament-record total of 25-under.
“I’m definitely inspired by her win and it definitely motivated me a bunch,” Nelly Korda said. “It was the first tournament of the year and for her to come and crush it the way she did, it was definitely inspiring and hopefully we’ll see where tomorrow takes me. She’s still there. So she still has a chance. Everyone does.”
Korda made three birdies in a row from the sixth to turn in 33 then made five more on the back nine. She dropped her only shot at the par-4 12th but joined Kang in the lead when she scrambled for a par at the 14th after overshooting the green, then she took the outright lead when she birdied the 16th.
“I was hitting the correct shots. I was aggressive when I needed to be, so I’m just happy with the way it ended and really looking forward to tomorrow,” Korda said.
Kang, who broke a tooth before her first round and almost missed her tee-off time on Saturday as she was lying down in the locker room, birdied the 17th to draw level with Korda at 15-under, but gave it straight back when she bogeyed the last.
“Everyday, it’s drama. My life is a drama. I don’t love drama. Drama loves me,” she said. “Nothing could be perfect every day, so just got to take it and run with it.”