SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Nelly Korda fired a seven-under 65 to move into a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship on Saturday as the American targets both a first LPGA Tour victory and a rare sibling double in Singapore.
The 19-year-old started the third round four adrift of overnight leader Danielle Kang but overhauled her compatriot with a scintillating run of eight birdies in 11 holes to end the day on 15-under at the 63-player limited-field event.
Kang, meanwhile, was unable to match her blemish-free golf of the first two rounds and dropped her first shot of the tournament on the 15th and another on the last after finding a greenside bunker to fall out of a tie for the lead.
Despite relinquishing her grip on top spot, Kang still has a three-stroke cushion over Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who also shot a 65, and Australia’s Minjee Lee, the duo tied for third on 11-under after another day of low scoring.
Should Korda hold on to her advantage on Sunday, she will follow up older sibling Jessica’s victory in Thailand last week to make them the first sisters to win back-to-back tournaments on the LPGA Tour since Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam in 2000.
“I was hitting it really well off the tee. I was aggressive when I needed to be. I rolled a couple putts in that resulted in seven-under,” Korda said of her third round.
“I’m very happy with how it ended but I still have 18 more holes to go. There’s still a bunch of great girls, great golfers up on the leaderboard near me,” she added, before turning her thoughts to the possibility of a second Korda win in two weeks.
“It would definitely be really exciting, but I can’t think about it too much. I’m just going to relax and take it shot-by-shot.”
Jessica, though, is still close enough to win consecutive events on her own after the 25-year-old signed for a 68 to leave her in a tie for fifth, alongside compatriots Marina Alex and Michelle Wie, and Korea’s Ko Jin-young, five shots off the lead.
Korea’s Jenny Shin and Jang Ha-na are level with Briton Charley Hull on nine-under and with the New Tanjong Course offering plenty of birdie opportunities, everyone in the top-10 will be hoping for a fast start to put pressure on their rivals.
Kang rued her last hole lapse but is looking forward to chasing her second LPGA Tour victory on Sunday.
“I didn’t want to finish on a bogey but it was a really unlucky lie on the fairway, quote fairway, got plugged in the bunker,” said the American whose only other tour victory was at last year’s PGA Championship.
“But I gave myself a really good par chance and I ended up one shot behind the lead. Got 18 more holes to play and that’s a lot of golf.”
Reporting by John O'Brien; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly