Lydia Ko birdies final hole to reach 21 under at LPGA LOTTE; leads Nelly Korda by one

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Nelly Korda went deep in the third round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship on Friday, matching Lydia Ko’s round of 9-under 63 a day before, but Korda still couldn’t wrestle the lead away from Ko.

Entering the final round at Kapolei Golf Club on Oahu, Hawaii, Ko is 21 under and has a one-shot lead. She birdied the 18th hole for that slim edge on Korda.

Scores were low across the board, and Korda led the way with a 9-under 63 that even included a bogey at the par-4 10th. Farther down the leaderboard, Wei-Ling Hsu posted the same number, climbing from 52nd all the way to a tie for ninth. Hsu eagled the par-5 17th but bogeyed the last.

As for Ko, who two weeks ago posted the lowest final-round score in LPGA major championship history, a 10-under 62, at the ANA Inspiration, a third-round 65 was enough to keep her ahead of her pursuers.

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Ko bogeyed the 11th hole in the first round, but has not made a bogey since.

Second-round leader Yuka Saso, a 19-year-old playing this week on a sponsor exemption, opened with back-to-back rounds of 64 but dropped to third on Friday with a 71 that included four bogeys on her front nine. She is 17 under for the tournament.

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