KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – American Jessica Korda shrugged off her woeful recent form to fire an impressive six-under-par 65 and take a two-shot lead after a humid third round of the high-calibre $2 million LPGA Malaysia on Saturday.
The 22-year-old daughter of former Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda fired a bogey-free round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to sit two clear of compatriot and world number three Stacy Lewis, who also struck a blemish-free 65.
Overnight leader Jang Ha-na of South Korea was in a tie for the lead with Korda but a costly double bogey five on the 14th, following some putting trouble, halted her momentum as she settled for a level par 71 to sit at 10-under.
World number two Lydia Ko was a shot back on nine-under after a topsy-turvy afternoon playing with Korda. The New Zealander fired three birdies and an eagle in her 68 but said she “hadn’t been hitting the ball that solidly” of late.
Her form had been far better than Korda’s, though, with the American making just one cut in six events prior to Malaysia and recording only one top 10 this year.
But after three good rounds in an overcast but strenuously humid Kuala Lumpur she will go in search of her fourth LPGA title on Sunday.
“It’s been a tough year this year but to put at least three good round together has been super nice and super refreshing,” Korda said.
Korda will still have her work cut out to take the title with Ko among a high profile chasing pack that includes world number seven and defending champion Feng Shanshan of China, who struck a second straight 69 to also finish on nine-under.
Former world number one Yani Tseng of Taiwan was back on eight-under, alongside the current top ranked women’s golfer Park In-bee of South Korea after both shot 71s.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)