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Lydia Ko leads JTBC Founders Cup

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm •  Published: March 22, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — There were too many players close behind and too many low scores to be had for Lydia Ko to feel at ease at the top of the JTBC Founders Cup leaderboard.

That won't change the 16-year-old New Zealander's approach Sunday at Desert Mountain.

"I'm just going to play my own game," Ko said. "If somebody goes crazy low like shooting 10 under, 9 under or whatever, it's not something I can control."

She shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday to reach 16-under 200. Jessica Korda and Mirim Lee were a stroke back, and a dozen players were within four shots on a course that gave up a 63 and two 64s in the third round.

"Obviously, there's going to be some nerves," Ko said. "Of course, that's always there."

Ko was 3 under on Wildfire's Arnold Palmer-designed front nine Saturday after playing it in even par the first two days. She eagled the par-5 fifth after hitting a 5-wood to 7 feet.

"I played much better on the front nine, so I was really happy with that," Ko said.

Ko tapped in for birdie on the par-5 15th after missing an eagle try and took the outright lead with a 10-footer on the par-3 17th. She's 13 under on the Nick Faldo-designed back nine, where the tournament will be decided.

"You never know until the last hole, last putt," Ko said.

Ko won the Canadian Women's Open as an amateur the last two years and took the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December in Thailand in her second start as a professional. She has five victories in pro events, also winning in Australia and New Zealand.

"It would be pretty special and especially at the Founders Cup," Ko said. "Without the founders, there would be no LPGA. This has been my dream tour."

Ko will play alongside Korda. They also played together in the first two rounds.

"It's always cool to play with her," Ko said.

Korda, the winner in the season-opening event in the Bahamas, birdied the final two holes for her second bogey-free 66 in a row.

"I look at her like a little sister," Korda said about Ko. "She's a great girl."

Lee, the leader after each of the first two rounds, bogeyed the 15th and shot 70. She's making her third start on the LPGA Tour after winning three times on the Korean LPGA.

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