At Kapolei Golf Club, Lydia Ko carded a third-round 65 and sits atop the 54-hole leaderboard at the LOTTE Championship on 21 under.
Ko’s 195 set a new 54-hole tournament scoring record, four strokes better than Su-Yeon Jang’s 199 in 2017.
The 23-year old got off to a solid, yet unspectacular, start to her third day, carding five pars and two birdies over her first seven holes. But Ko turned on the jets down the stretch, highlighted by four birdies on her last five holes en route to a second-straight bogey-free round.
“My front nine I didn’t get off to a fast compared to my other — well, the first two rounds, but I tried to stay patient and give myself good looks for birdies,” said Ko, the former world No. 1.
“I had a stretch in the middle of the front nine where I had really long putts for birdies. So just trying to not make stupid mistakes and kind of keep it in control.
“Nice to finish up the round with two birdies on the last two holes.
“This is a golf course where even though it’s windy it seems like everybody is playing so well, so you’re just trying to make your share of birdies.
“I’ve just been having a lot of fun out here, and that’s kind of the mindset for tomorrow as well.”
Just one back of the New Zealander was Nelly Korda, who tied a career best with a 9-under 63. The American’s low-round was bookended by a six-pack of birdies on the front nine and three in her final four holes.
“I just feel like it’s like home. Kind of the same grass, wind, you know, I just like the layout of the golf course,” said Korda.
“Hitting it close and making putts, you know, it’s going well so far this week, so hopefully I can keep it going for 18 more holes.”
Yuka Saso, who set a 36-hole record of 128 (-16), fell to third place after a disappointing round of 71 to settle at 17 under.
“When I don’t really play well or when I — when the thing doesn’t go my way I don’t really talk too much,” said Saso.
“You know, I’ve been trying to fix that. I’m trying to communicate with my caddie as much as can rather than just being quiet. Yeah, I think I did that well today.”
Rounding out the top-5 leaders in Oahu, Hawaii were Leona Maguire, who shot a career best 65 to sit 16 under, one clear of Amy Yang (64).
Lexi Thompson, Hyo Joo Kim and Sei Young Kim were T6 on 14 under.
2021 LOTTE Championship
Top-5 Leaders: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Lydia Ko -21 (-7)
2. Nelly Korda -20 (-9)
3. Yuka Saso -17 (-1)
4. Leona Maguire -16 (-7)
5. Amy Yang -15 (-8)
Material from the LPGA Tour Communications was used to compile this report.