Golf: NZ's Ko leads Australian strokeplay

Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot. Photo / Getty Images
Lydia Ko of New Zealand plays a shot. Photo / Getty Images

Teenage New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko fired two birdies in her final six holes to retain the lead after 54 holes of the Australian women's amateur strokeplay championship in Melbourne today.

The 13-year-old from North Harbour shot a two-under par 71 to move to five-under after three rounds at Huntingdale Golf Club.

She will take a two-shot lead into tomorrow's final round from compatriot and world No 1 Cecilia Cho and Yi-Chen Liu from Chinese Taipei. The pair both shot tournament-low rounds of four-under 69 to close to three-under par.

They are two shots clear of Western Australian Minjee Lee, who dropped to one-under after one-over 74.

The quartet are the only players under par, with five shots back to Korea's Su Hyun Oh and Australians Ashley Ona and Cathleen Santosa on four-over par.

"I couldn't hit many greens on the front nine and I was struggling a bit - it was pretty hard to get up and down," Ko said.

"I think overall the round was good though."

Ko said she would focus on enjoying the round tomorrow when she takes on her teammate and friend Cho.

"It will be challenging. I need to have fun out there and relax and play the best that I can. I know Cecilia and Yi-Chien are good players and can shoot good scores out there so I just need to keep my score going."

Waikato's Emily Perry shot an eight-over 81 to be on 21-over in a share of 32th place, and is now five shots off the current cut line for the top 32 players who will qualify after four rounds to contest the matchplay phase. North Harbour's Faye-Amy Nickson is 57th.

- NZPA

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