London (Canada) (AFP) - South Korea's Ryu So-Yeon fired a five-under par 67 Saturday to set a 54-hole tournament record and grab a four-shot lead after three rounds of the LPGA Canadian Women's Open.
Ninth-ranked Ryu, the 2011 US Women's Open champion, stood on 20-under 196 entering the final round at Ontario's London Hunt and Country Club.
Ryu is bidding for a wire-to-wire victory, having led by five shots after 36 holes following a course record 63 in the opening round, and trying to snap a win drought of more than two years.
"It's a really tough time for me," Ryu said. "If I'm going to win this tournament, I'm going to break that, so I really want to break it.
"I really want to stop it. Kind of like not a great experience. I just want to make it a really fantastic experience."
Ryu, whose only other LPGA title came at the 2012 Toledo Classic, saw her course record matched Saturday by Spaniard Azahara Munoz, who shared second on 200 with South Korean Choi Na-Yeon, who shot 66.
"I shot nine-under and I'm only leading by four shots. Amazing that the girls played so well," Ryu said. "If I'm going to win this tournament, it is going to be more of an honor."
World number two Park In-Bee, the South Korean star who captured her fifth career major title at last week's LPGA Championship, was fourth on 202 with Sweden's Anna Nordqvist another stroke adrift.
With 21 birdies against a lone bogey over the first three rounds, Ryu is already below the tournament record score of 18-under par by Norway's Suzann Pettersen in 2009.
"I shot two-under and I feel like I lost 10 shots on the field," Pettersen said Saturday after birdie-filled rounds for top rivals.
The all-time record LPGA low 72-hole total is shared by Annika Sorenstam, Angela Stanford and Park Hee-Young at 26-under par.
"My lowest record was 29-under, when I was 16 at the Asian Games," Ryu said. "If I have a chance, I want to break my current record. Also, if I can, I want to break another LPGA record."
Ryu has won both prior times when leading after 54 holes and neither were by as many strokes as she leads now.
Ryu, who had 10 top-10 finishes without a victory last year, has nine more this year without lifting a trophy.
After taking her first bogey of the tournament at the third, Ryu answered with back-to-back birdies at six and par-5 seven and began the back nine with another birdie on a par-5 hole.
Ryu birdied the par-3 13th, par-5 16th and par-3 17th as well to stay in front as rivals threatened to close the gap despite her success.
Munoz, whose last victory was in the 2012 LPGA Match Play Championship, sizzled with birdies on six of the last eight holes.
"It gives you a lot of opportunities," Munzo said of the course. "When you start making putts, you can go really low."
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