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Saturday, October 10, 2015
A blemish-free round gives Korda the lead at LPGA Malaysia
Korda carded a six-under 65 for a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. - AFP
KUALA LUMPUR: Here come the pros.
Lanky American Jessica Korda sizzled under the sweltering conditions to fire a six-under 65 for a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC).
The 22-year-old Korda shook off her recent woeful form to notch a bogey-free performance for a three-day total of 12-under 201 and stay ahead of compatriot and world No. 3 Stacy Lewis, who also had an identical blemish-free round of 65.
Overnight leader and LPGA Tour rookie Jang Ha-na of South Korea was tied for the lead with Korda before a costly double bogey five on the 14th halted her momentum and she eventually settled for an even-par 71 to share second place on 10-under 203 with the 30-year-old Lewis.
World No. 2 Lydia Ko of New Zealand was a shot back on nine-under 204 after a topsy-turvy afternoon playing with Korda on the same flight. Lydia is tied with defending champion Feng Shanshan of China and compatriot Lin Xi Yu.
The day, however, belonged to the 1.8m-tall Korda, who sizzled on the humid greens.
The American has made just one cut in six events prior to coming here and had only recorded one top-10 finish this year – at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic back in January.
After three good rounds, it looks like the bubbly world No. 50 Korda is within touching distance of her fourth LPGA title.
“It’s a confidence-builder. I haven’t been in this position for such a long time ... since January,” she said.
“It’s been tough this year, but to put at least three good rounds together has been super nice and super refreshing.
“It’s nice to see the birdies rolling in, so you can’t ever complain about a day like today,” added Korda, who was also encouraged by a good crowd following her and Lydia.
There’s still plenty of hard work ahead for Korda as she’s being hunted by high-profile pack, which includes former world No. 1 Tseng Yani of Taiwan and current world No. 1 Park In-bee of South Korea – who are both on eight-under 205.
Lewis, who shot a five-under 66 on Friday, was pleased to carry on the momentum.
“It was just nice to follow up on the round yesterday with a good one today. Didn’t really make that many putts, but hit a lot of shots close. I need another good one like that tomorrow,” said Stacy, who has 11 LPGA victories but none on the Tour this year.
“Seems like every year it’s a stacked leaderboard. You have a lot of good winners here.
“It’s a golf course where you’ve got to hit good shots on ... it’s fun to have that many good players in the mix.”