Lydia Ko and Eun-Hee Ji Lead Entering Final Round of Tournament of Champions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Lydia Ko of New Zealand may solely take into consideration the putts that didn’t go in, maybe as a result of she was used to creating so many.

Ko ran off 4 birdies on the entrance 9 on Saturday for a 30, and it was sufficient to hold her to a five-under-par 66 and a share of the lead with Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea going into the ultimate spherical of the L.P.G.A.’s season-opening Tournament of Champions.

Ji additionally was scorching early, and two birdies early on the again 9 gave her a 66. She and Ko have been at 13-under 200.

Brooke Henderson of Canada was poised to make it a three-way tie till she made bogey on the par-Three closing gap for a 69, leaving her one shot behind. Nelly Korda had an eagle and 4 birdies for a 65 and was two photographs off the lead.

Ko, who made par on the ultimate seven holes, stated: “I felt like there were a few putts that I thought I holed and it didn’t go in. But I holed a really long one on 8 — that one, I probably didn’t deserve — so everything balances out.”

She added, “All I can do is put a good roll on it and just give myself good opportunities out there.”

Now she has a possibility to begin 2019 by profitable, which took her till April to do final yr as she started to emerge from a stoop.

The occasion is restricted to winners every of the final two seasons for a $1.2 million purse. It features a 49-player area of celebrities and athletes competing for a $500,000 purse. The Hall of Famer John Smoltz had 39 factors within the modified Stableford format, giving him a four-point lead over one other former pitcher, Mark Mulder.

Ko stated she had been having fun with the interplay with athletes, maybe somewhat an excessive amount of.

“You don’t know what time it is out there, you’re just having a really good time,” she stated. “I’ve never been caught up in what position I am and what I need to do. I probably need to do that a little bit more tomorrow.”

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, the top-ranked participant on the earth, did not make a birdie in her spherical of 75 and fell 9 photographs behind. Stacy Lewis, who gave start three months in the past, bounced again from a 74 to publish a 66. She was six photographs behind.

“I feel like the touch and the feel is coming back,” stated Lewis, competing for the primary time in six months. “I still hit some weird golf shots, which is fatigue, I think, more than anything. Got pretty tired toward the end of the round yesterday.”

The forecast for the ultimate spherical was cooler temperatures within the higher 50s, and 20-mile-per-hour wind with gusts, which is ok with Henderson.

“I think I can grind it out, and a lot of my wins have come in windy conditions,” she stated.

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