Ko takes lead with a 67

Teenage phenom Lydia Ko of New Zealand shot 5-under-par 67 and will take a one-stroke lead over Jessica Korda and Mirim Lee of South Korea into the final round of the JTBC Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.

Ko, who will be 17 next month, holed a five-foot eagle putt on the third hole and added four birdies, the last from 10 feet on the 17th hole to take sole possession of the lead.

“Obviously there’s going to be some nerves,” said Ko, who has five victories in professional events, four as an amateur. “Of course, it’s there any time.

“I’m just going to play my own game. If somebody goes crazy-low like shooting 10-under, 9-under, it’s not something I can control.”

Ko, who turned professional last October, won the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2012 and 2013, but has never won in the United States. Her first victory in Canada made her the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history. She was 15 years, four months and two days old.

In 2012, Ko captured Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s New South Wales Open on the Australian Ladies Pro Golf Tour at the age of 14, becoming the youngest person to win on any pro tour.

The 21-year-old Korda, who claimed her second LPGA Tour title earlier this year in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA  Classic, recorded a bogey-free 66, including a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to grab her share of second.

Lee, another LPGA Tour rookie who led after the first two rounds with scores of 64-67, had two bogeys in her round of 70 after making only one on each of the first two days.

Sun-Young Yoo of South Korea, the 2012 Kraft Nabisco champion, posted a 68 and was two shots back in fourth.

Azahara Munoz of Spain carded a 64 and was three shots back in a tie for fifth with Michelle Wie, who had a 67 and three South Koreans–Chella Choi, who holed out for an eagle on No. 18 to finish at 68, Amy Yang, who had a 67, and So Yeon Ryu, who came in at 68.

Paula Creamer shot 64 and was tied for 10th, four strokes behind, with Stacy Lewis and Morgan Pressel, who both had 67s.

Cristie Kerr had the best score of the day, a course-record 63, and was tied for 13th.

 

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