Lydia the Ko-leader in Aus

Lydia Ko of New Zealand tee's off during day two of the ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club. Photo / Getty Images.
Lydia Ko of New Zealand tee's off during day two of the ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club. Photo / Getty Images.

Lydia Ko is in with a real chance of adding the Australian Open to the New Zealand Open crown she won last week, holding a share of the lead heading into tomorrow's final day.

Ko's victory last weekend at Clearwater was the 15-year-old's third win in 12 professional tournaments, and that impressive number could very well rise tomorrow in Canberra.

Ko and world No 1 Jiyai Shin of South Korea swapped leads throughout today's third round and, with both women establishing themselves well clear at the front of the field, they will do it all again tomorrow.

The pair will begin the final round on 17-under, six shots clear of third-placed Beatriz Recari of Spain, meaning only a dramatic collapse will prevent Ko from achieving a top-two finish at the US$1.2 million event.

Of course, Ko, being the world's top-ranked amateur, will not claim a cent, but that will be the last thing from her mind tomorrow when she goes head to head with last year's British Open champion.

Ko was in typically modest mood when asked to assess her chances following the round but she was looking to the final day showdown.

"I've been playing some pretty good golf, so I'm pretty happy, but I'll see what happens tomorrow.''

Ko could have been even happier were it not for a frustrating back nine on which she dropped two shots. The Kiwi quickly pulled in overnight leader Mariajo Uribe with birdies on the second, fourth and sixth holes, but Shin responded immediately and pegged back Ko's two-shot lead with an eagle on the sixth.

Ko again took the lead on the 10th but ran into some trouble on the 12th, doing well to make bogey after finding herself in the trees. Another bogey on 14 handed Shin the outright advantage, before Ko made birdie on the last to record 3-under for the day and draw level with Shin.

"I didn't really need to do much work on the last put [for birdie], so it was nice,'' Ko said. "During the middle of my back nine I wasn't so happy there and I think I got unlucky in some cases. Having a birdie to end the day was good, though.''

Playing as the final pairing, Ko and Shin will tee off approximately 2pm (NZT) tomorrow.

- APNZ

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