Stacy Lewis matched playing partner Lydia Ko with birdies on holes 15 and 16 and added another on the 17th to take a one-stroke lead on Saturday in the Swinging Skirts Classic.
The third-ranked Lewis and fourth-ranked Ko each shot four-under 68 at Lake Merced. Winless since the Women’s British Open in August, Lewis had a 206 total.
“We both play fast and we got into a good rhythm,” Lewis said of Ko. “It’s nice to play with someone who is playing well. I think it made both of us elevate our game.”
Lewis matched shots with Ko throughout the day.
“It’s fun watching Stacy play,” Ko said. “She does make me feel like I have to play better. I always knew she was good. Her rankings and scores show that. It’s really good for me, as a rookie, to play with a player like Stacy. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn from another great player.”
They have played together through the first three rounds.
“It’s fun to be in the last group,” Lewis said. “I know the crowd got into there. I think they were tired of us making pars, so we both went on a run there and made a few birdies for them.”
Lewis played bogey-free on a difficult course.
“This is probably the worst I’ve hit the ball all week,” she said. “This course is so hard you can make a bogey real quick. I was putting good, so when I hit a couple of good putts for par, I got some momentum going.”
Jenny Shin was four strokes back at six-under. She also shot 68.
“My whole life I hit my putts short,” Shin said. “Hitting it past the hole was my main goal this year. I had some long putts that fell in that helped turn it into a better round.”
Hee Young-park also shot a 68 to move into fourth at five-under.
“It was freezing and rainy yesterday and the wind was always changing,” she said. “Today the weather was perfect. That was the big difference.”
Michelle Wie, the winner last week in Hawaii, was tied for 13th at one-under after a 71. She played the first two rounds with Lewis and Ko.
“I think I was just a little tired from last week,” Wie said. “So many emotions, celebrating, and traveling back here. I got some good rest.”
Leading among the Taiwanese players was Hsu Wei-ling tied for 22nd on 218 after a third-round 71. Shih Huei-ju (221) led Candie Kung by one stroke and Cheng Ssu-chia by three.
Tied for 66th was Babe Liu (225), with Yu Pei-lin (227) and Lee Min (227) the others to make the cut.
Additional reporting by staff writer