US teenager Jessica Korda moved into position for a two-sport, father-daughter Australian double, shooting an even-par 73 yesterday to take the third-round lead in the women’s Australian Open at difficult Royal Melbourne.
Korda, the 18-year-old daughter of 1998 Australian Open singles tennis champion Petr Korda, had a four-under 215 total in the LPGA Tour opener on the historic club’s composite course, last year’s Presidents Cup venue that is hosting a women’s professional event for the first time. She opened with rounds of 72 and 70.
Ryu So-yeon, the US Women’s Open champion who took a one-stroke lead into the third round, was a stroke back along with fellow South Korean player Hee Kyung-seo and Australia’s Nikki Campbell. Ryu shot a 76, Seo had a 75 and Campbell a 70.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng, the Australian Open winner the past two years at Commonwealth Golf Club, topped the group at two-under after a 71. The Taiwanese star was still smarting from a three-hole stretch on Friday in her second-round 76 when she dropped six strokes with a quadruple-bogey eight and two bogeys.
Canada’s Lorie Kane and the US’ Katie Futcher also were two-under. The 47-year-old Kane had a 72 and Futcher shot a 71.
Korda, seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, birdied Nos. 7, 9 and 10 — all par fours — for a share of the lead with Ryu at six-under. Korda dropped strokes with bogeys on the par-four 13th and par-five 17th.
Ryu birdied the second and third holes to reach eight-under, but played her final 14 holes in five-over with six bogeys and a birdie. She bogeyed the par-four 18th to drop out of a tie for the lead.
Campbell had the best round of the day with her 70. She had five birdies and two bogeys.
Only nine players were under par after three rounds, with long-hitting Brittany Lincicome of the US and Paraguay’s Julieta Granada three strokes back at one-under. Lincicome had a 73 and Granada shot a 76.
The US’ Stacy Lewis, four-under after opening rounds of 69 and 73, was even par after a 70.
Fourteen-year-old New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko was three-over after a 72, one of only nine sub-par rounds yesterday. She won the New South Wales Open two weeks ago to become the youngest winner of a sanctioned professional tour event.
Australian star Karrie Webb, a four-time winner in the event, was six-over after her third straight 75.
The LPGA Tour is sanctioning the national championship for the first time, teaming with Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour.