Golf: Kiwi Ko, South Korea's Jang share LPGA lead

Ko (right) hugs Jang on the 18th hole following the continuation of the third round.
Ko (right) hugs Jang on the 18th hole following the continuation of the third round.PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - World number one Lydia Ko completed a bogey-free five-under par 67 on Saturday morning to remain deadlocked with South Korea's Jang Ha-Na entering the final round of the LPGA Coates Championship.

The third round was halted Friday by darkness with the partnered players both on 7-under par through six holes. They each played the final 12 holes at 4-under when play resumed to stand on 11-under 205 after 54 holes at Ocala, Florida.

Canada's Brooke Henderson charged into third with a third-round 67 to stand two shots adrift of the leaders and one in front of South Korea's Kim Sei-Young as the final round began with hopes to finish as planned on Saturday evening.

Ko and Jang each birdied the seventh to begin Saturday's play. Jang followed with a birdie at the eighth but Ko answered to begin the back nine to pull level again.

Jang birdied the par-3 11th but stumbled at the par-5 12th for a bogey while Ko birdied the 12th to grab the lead. Jang answered with a birdie at the par-3 15th and both players birdied the par-5 closing hole to remain deadlocked atop the leaderboard.

"Sometimes I really sink the birdie and then Lydia first hole, then my second hole," Jang said after the round. "It's like it's really good right now."

Jang, who made the first albatross in LPGA history last week at the season opener in the Bahamas, seeks her first LPGA victory after a 2015 season that saw her finish second four times.

Ko is playing her first event of the season, skipping the Bahamas to better prepare for upcoming title defenses in New Zealand and Australia. But a rainy week and early restarts have eaten into the teen's usual nine hours of sleep.

"I came out here maybe a half hour later than I normally would, especially since it was so cold in the morning. You don't really want to be out here trying to hit a lot of balls," Ko said.

"But I changed up my routine a little bit so I hit range balls last so that it would be closest to warming up when I got to the tee." Henderson jumped into third after making a 20-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole.

"It has kind of been up and down the first three days," she said. "I made some putts but missed a lot that I should have made.It's coming. It feels a lot better than it did last week."