Ko on tar­get for third straight ma­jor

Hen­der­son within strik­ing dis­tance at Women’s LPGA

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS - By Tim Booth

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — When Ly­dia Ko won the last two ma­jor cham­pi­onships, she was the one lurk­ing be­hind.

Today at Sa­halee, the top-ranked Ko will take a one-stroke lead into the fi­nal round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship.

“I can’t con­trol what the other girls are do­ing,” the 19-year- old Ko said. “So (I’ll) just try my best out there. We’ve still got a long 18 holes to go.”

Ko shot a 1-under 70 Satur­day to reach 2-under 211. She won the Evian Cham­pi­onship in Septem­ber in France for her first ma­jor ti­tle and took the ANA Inspiration in April in Cal­i­for­nia, giv­ing her a chance to be­come the fifth player in tour history to win three straight ma­jors.

“It’s re­ally cool to, ob­vi­ously, have my name in those records among those amaz­ing play­ers. And I think that’s the re­ally cool thing about it,” Ko said. “But when I’m out there I’m not think­ing so much about records and what could hap­pen.”

Ko used her deft short game to save shots on the 16th and 17th holes, but couldn’t avoid drop­ping a stroke at the last when her third shot went to the back of the green and she missed a 15-foot par putt.

Brit­tany Lin­ci­come and Ge­rina Piller were tied for se­cond. They each shot 71, with Lin­ci­come also bo­gey­ing the 18th. Se­cond round co-lead­ers Brooke Hen­der­son of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Mirim Lee each shot 73 to drop into the group at even par. Only three play­ers were under par even as Sa­halee played eas­ier fol­low­ing overnight rain.

Sher­brooke, Que., na­tive Maude-Aimee Le­blanc (71) was tied for 37th place. Hamil­ton’s Alena Sharp (76) had a share of 47th place.

Ariya Ju­tanu­garn, the win­ner of her last three tour­na­ments, was in the group at even par. Ju­tanu­garn got back into con­tention with a 68. Amy Yang also was even af­ter the low­est round of the week, a 66. Yang went out in 32 and was 6 under for her round af­ter a birdie at No. 15, be­fore drop­ping a shot on the 16th.

Anna Nordqvist, the win­ner last week in New Jer­sey, and Chella Choi com­pleted the group at even par. They each shot 69.

Ko missed a chance to cre­ate some sep­a­ra­tion late in her round. She moved to 3 under with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 15th, then showed off her del­i­cate touch around — and on — the green com­ing in. Ko put her­self in poor po­si­tion off the tee on the 16th, but a flop shot out of the rough to 4 feet al­lowed her to save par. On the par-3 17th, Ko’s tee shot found the green but in a po­si­tion where a chip shot was the only way to get to the hole be­cause of the fringe. The chip from green-to-green left her a 3-foot tap in.

Her se­cond shot on the 18th caught a large tree fronting the left of the green and was un­able to save par.

ELAINE THOMPSON / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cana­dian Brooke Hen­der­son shot a 73 Satur­day and is one of seven golfers at par head­ing into today’s fi­nal round of the Wo­man’s PGA Cham­pi­onship, which is led by Ly­dia Ko who is 2 under.

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