JTBC Founders Cup Third Round Recap

Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko of New Zealand reacts to fans after a par putt on the ninth green during the third round of the JTBC LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club on March 22, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Two-time LPGA Tour winner Lydia Ko will have an opportunity to capture her first LPGA victory as a member of the Tour on Sunday at the JTBC Founders Cup, but the rookie will need to beat out plenty of big names in order to do so.

Ko enters Sunday’s final round holding the outright lead at 16-under-par after shooting a 5-under 67 in the third round. But while Ko holds the lead through 54 holes, there are a number of other LPGA Tour winners within striking distance entering the final round.

“Obviously there’s going to be some nerves,” Ko said of taking the lead into the final round. “Of course, it’s always there any time. But it’s great that you’ve got a one‑shot lead.

“I’ve just got to take the positive out of it and I’m just going to play my own game, if somebody goes crazy low like shooting 10‑under, 9‑under or whatever, it’s not something I can control. So I’m going to control to the most what I can do.”

Ten of the players in the top 12 players on the leaderboard have at least one LPGA victory on their resume. Among those players is 2014 Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic winner Jessica Korda who sits one shot back of Ko in a tie for second with rookie Mirim Lee.

Ko was paired with Lee in Saturday’s third round and outdueled her fellow rookie who is playing in just her third LPGA Tour event. Ko had struggled on the front nine throughout the week but managed to make the turn at 3-under on Saturday. Despite a bogey on the 12th, Ko made three more birdies on the back side en route to shooting 67.

There was plenty of low numbers to be found on “Moving Day” at the JTBC Founders Cup on Saturday. The scoring average for the day was 69.421, nearly a stroke lower than Friday’s average (71.392). Cristie Kerr, who finished right on the cut line at 2-under-par on Friday, took advantage of the early scoring conditions. Kerr tied the tournament course record with a 9-under 63 to jump from T67 into a tie for 12th at 11-under-par.

“I knew if I could get a low round ‑‑ they are probably going to shoot five or six today but they might not and I’ll have a chance,” said Kerr, who sits five shots back entering Sunday’s final round. “But I’ll be out early enough tomorrow, that, hey, if you do this again ‑‑ I’ll try not to have expectations. I literally just tried to play the shot in front of me today.”

Another American used a low round to get back into contention on Saturday. Recent HSBC Women’s Champions winner Paula Creamer fired a 64 to move into a tie for 10th at 12-under-par. Creamer is just four shots off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Defending champion Stacy Lewis sits in a tie with Creamer at 12-under-par along with fellow American Morgan Pressel. Michelle Wie is among a group of five players at 13-under-par that includes Arizona State alum Azahara Munoz.

 

Topics: LPGA Founders Cup

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