Golf: Ko holds 4-shot lead after third round of Founders Cup

Ko Jin-young of South Korea during the third round of the Founders Cup in New Jersey on Oct 9, 2021.
Ko Jin-young of South Korea during the third round of the Founders Cup in New Jersey on Oct 9, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Ko Jin-young of South Korea maintained a four-stroke lead while Elizabeth Szokol surged into a second-place tie with three other golfers on Saturday (Oct 9) in the third round of the Founders Cup in West Caldwell, N.J.

Ko, ranked No. 2 in the world, first had to resume her second round that had been suspended due to darkness on Friday evening, but the long day of golf did not seem to affect the defending champion.

She hit 10 of 14 fairways and grabbed four birdies throughout her two-under 69 third round, despite windy conditions. She also had two bogeys.

Szokol fired a six-under 65 to forge that second-place tie. Her day included seven birdies and one bogey.

"I hit a lot of fairways and that definitely helped," Szokol said. "I had a lot of good chances for birdie and got a few long putts to fall, so it was definitely a good day."

She is tied with US Women's Open champion Yuka Saso of the Philippines, Ryu So-yeon of South Korea and Lindsey Weaver at nine-under. Saso's third-round 67 included five birdies and one bogey, while Weaver recorded a two-under 69 and Ryu hit a par 71.

Five golfers are tied for sixth, one of whom, world No. 1 Nelly Korda, finished three-under with a 68. Korda hit 11 of 14 fairways with five birdies.

"It was a little bit more difficult," Korda said. "Definitely wasn't as hot.

It was a lot windier. Obviously I came out here really early so I've been up for a really long time. Definitely feeling it a little bit."

Korda is tied with Germany's Caroline Masson and Mexico's Maria Fassi, who each recorded a two-under 69, and Lexi Thompson and France's Perrine Delacour both put down one-under 70s on their scorecards.

Six more golfers are a stroke back at six-under, including Korda's older sister, Jessica.

"We always said it's like a built-in best buddy. It's always fun, no filter, so that's nice. But, yeah, I enjoy playing with Jess," Nelly Korda said. "It's actually crazy, because we legitimately hit the same stuff into every green. I see her whipping out a 7-wood and I'm like, Okay, 7-wood it is. I'm hitting 7-wood, too.

"We're like twins out there as well."

Other standouts on Saturday included Jennifer Chang and Japan's Nasa Hataoka, tied for 17th at five-under after both golfers scored five-under 66s.

South Koreans Hur Mi-jung also recorded a 66. She is tied for 23rd at four-under.