The biggest move of the third round belonged to the reigning silver medalist. Lydia Ko fired a 66 on Friday to move up six spots and into a four-way tie for third place with Hannah Green of Australia, Emily Pedersen of Denmark, Mone Inami of Japan.
Now, Ko hopes she and rest of the field have a little luck on their side.
“To me, where I am today, I'm just more having my fingers and toes and everything crossed to say that the weather gods allow to us play tomorrow,” the 24-year-old New Zealander said. “I feel like the Olympics itself has gone through so much, and Tokyo's gone through so much to host us and have the Olympics, I think for it to be cut short would just sum up the whole situation.
“But I hope we get to play another round and I think it will be so exciting. I'm not sure where I'm going to be at the end of today, but I would love to have one more chance to be, hopefully, on the podium. Because I'm not just playing for myself, I'm playing for my country. It's a very different feel.
“So, I would love to play. Sometimes there are days when I'm like, man, I don't want to play in this heat. But in this situation, I would love to play.”
In addition to playing for her nation and the pride of potentially being a two-time Olympic medalist, Ko is also anxious to get out and give her wedge game another chance to improve.
“I was so upset at myself because normally I feel like my wedges are the stronger part of my game,” she said. “I hadn't hit a single wedge within 30 feet all day yesterday. I just wasn't getting a sense of it. I was so upset. And, yes, I missed like two 3-footers, but at the same time trying to two-putt 60-footers, that's me putting myself in that position. That is the flaw, not the putting itself. If I keep putting myself in 60-footer range I'm going to stress out the bits that I need to do to clean up.
“So, I was really upset at my wedge game and I was feeling frustrated. I didn't want that to affect the way I went into today. Luckily, I had a pretty smooth start. But then I missed a 3-footer on 2 and I was like, ‘Not again.’ But I just stayed patient. There was so much golf ahead of me. I tried to play my heart out and I played the back nine really well today, which was (where) I struggled the last couple days.
“Hopefully I have some good momentum (going) into the 18 holes we get to play tomorrow.”
Ko is currently five shots behind leader Nelly Korda and two behind India’s Aditi Ashok, who sits alone in second. But Ko remains ever the optimist, knowing from experience that no lead is safe as long as there is golf left to play.
“Minjee proved that you can be 10 shots behind and win a major championship,” she said, referring to Minjee Lee’s comeback win at the Amundi Evian Championship. “That's the crazy thing about golf. You never know until that last putt drops on the last hole. You can never give up. It doesn't matter how many shots back you are.
“Rory Sabbatini shot 10-under on the last day last week to become the silver medalist. I don't think you can count yourself out of it. If you feel like you're playing good golf, you're going to have opportunities. And when you're playing from behind, you know that it's only gold, silver and bronze, so maybe I end up attacking pins that I normally wouldn't in any other situation. It changes the tactics.
“But for me, I'm just praying to the weather gods that we get to play and that I can do some sort of tactic out there. At the end of the day, who knows? I might fall further behind or I might be one of the Olympians that ends up standing on the podium. But I'm going to try my best out there, have fun and see where that finishes me at the end of Saturday.”