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Ko & Shin Enjoy Big Advantage at Women's Australian Open
South Korea's Jiyai Shin and New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko both carded 3-under 70s to take a share of the leaderboard's top spot and build a six-stroke edge over the field in the Women's Australian Open. The LPGA Tour's season opener began Thursday at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
The two are tied at 17-under 202 heading into Sunday's final round. Alone in second at 208 is Spain's Beatriz Recari (71), while eight back are France's Gwladys Nocera (65), Spain's Carlota Ciganda (69), Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn (70), Taiwan's Yani Tseng (71) and Colombia's Mariajo Uribe.
Tseng, the No. 1-ranked female player in the world, is a two-time winner in the tournament.
Uribe, who opened with rounds of 64 and 67 to forge a one-shot lead over Shin and Ko after two rounds, skyrocketed to a 6-over 79 Saturday.
The 15-year-old Ko, who's already won three times on professional circuits - including last August's Canadian Women's Open, started well, with four birdies through 10 holes. She then hit a bump in the road with bogeys on the 12th and 14th holes - both par-4s. The teenage sensation closed nicely, though, with a birdie on the par-5 last.
Shin, a 24-year-old with 10 LPGA titles, had a birdie and an eagle on the two of the front nine's three par-5s before carding a birdie-bogey on the home half.
Shin is hoping her battle-tested background will be enough to overcome the youngster. "I have more experience than her, and I have a really good tempo with my swing right now," said Shin. "I know she hits it great and her putting is good, so I think tomorrow will be good competition for us."
For her part, Ko hopes to keep her cool on Sunday, while realizing that she's an amateur and has nothing to lose. "I don't like to share my emotions a lot, unless it's really big. I try to stay calm. Every win is meaningful, especially an LPGA event. I've just got to stay calm," she said. "I don't really care anymore, I'm not going to win (the money) anyway."
After opening with a promising 70 and 69, defending champion Jessica Korda of Florida had a tough third round. The 19-year-old from Bradenton had two bogeys, four bogeys and a double on the par-3 eighth for a 4-over 77.
Reigning LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis posted a 69 to take a share of 15th at 7-under 212.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.