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Korda grabs 4-shot lead


MIAMI (AFP) — Reigning Olympic champion Nelly Korda eagled the 17th hole and birdied the last to seize a four-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Drive On Championship.

The 25-year-old hometown hero and daughter of former Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda finished with a flourish to fire a three-under par 68 and stand on 13-under 200 after 54 holes at Bradenton Country Club.

Clinging to a one-stroke lead at the par-5 17th, Korda blasted out of a greenside bunker, her shot rolling in for an eagle.

At 18, Korda had a testy breaking birdie putt from 15 feet and rolled it into the hole for a four-stroke advantage.

“Just a confidence boost knowing I can climb up the leaderboard and  stay in contention,” Korda said.

“Definitely didn’t have the great start. I was one back after nine holes and then kind of turned it around.”

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Japan’s Ayaka Furue and American Megan Khang shared second on 204.

World No. 4 Korda, who led by two after 36 holes, birdied the par-5 sixth but stumbled with bogeys at the par-3 seventh and par-5 eighth.

Korda birdied the 13th to seize a one-stroke lead, setting up her late heroics.

“I was hitting good solid putts. Just with the wind it was hard to judge,” Korda said.

“Birdied the par-5 then snap hooked my next two tee shots, which ended up both of them being bogeys.”

“And then just had a fresh attitude coming into the back nine. I mean, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish. Hopefully, I can lead that into tomorrow.”

Korda seeks her ninth career LPGA title and first since the 2022 Pelican Women’s Championship. Her last worldwide crown came last year in a Ladies European Tour event in London.


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