American Nelly Korda yesterday vaulted into a three-shot lead at the Australian Open as she reinforced her credentials as the form player of recent months.
Ranked 16th in the world, the 20-year-old headed to Adelaide’s Grange Golf Club on the back of a win and two other top-three finishes in her past four events.
The victory — her first — came in October last year at the Taiwan Championship, before a second-place finish at the Tour Championship in Florida.
She started this year’s campaign in a similar vein, finishing third at the Tournament of Champions last month, also in Florida.
Korda sunk five birdies on the back nine in Adelaide, including at the 18th, to card a 67 and be 12-under-par for the tournament.
She took a handy cushion into the final day ahead of Japan’s Naru Nomura, whose round was marred by a bogey on the 16th as she chased the American.
A group of three — Hsu Wei-ling of Taiwan, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and South Korea’s Lee Jeong-eun, who surged up the leaderboard with a 67 — are a shot further back.
“Great finish, hopefully I can keep the momentum up tomorrow,” Korda said.
Asked what the key would be for today, she replied: “Just consistency. I know everyone is going to try to catch up, so I just need to hit as many fairways and greens as possible.”
Thailand’s world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn struggled with a 72, leaving her 13 behind Korda.
Taiwan’s Teresa Lu rose to a share of 30th place after carding a 70 for two-under overall.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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