Yarralumla, Australia – Jiyai Shin and 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko both carded 3-under 70s on Saturday and they share the lead after three rounds of the Women's Australian Open.
Shin and Ko are tied at 17-under-par 202 after 54 holes at the par-73 Royal Canberra Golf Club. Shin is the reigning Women's British Open champion, while Ko won last year's Canadian Women's Open.
It looks as though they are set for a two-person race for the title as Beatriz Recari is alone in third place, but is six strokes back at minus-11 after shooting 2-under 71 on Saturday.
Second-round leader Mariajo Uribe struggled to a 6-over 79 on Saturday. She fell into share of fourth place at 9-under-par 210. She stands alongside women's world No. 1 and two-time champion Yani Tseng (71), Gwladys Nocera (65), Carlota Ciganda (69) and Moriya Jutanugarn (70).
Uribe led by one to start the round, but stumbled to a bogey at the first to fall one behind Ko, who birdied the second to move to 15-under. For Uribe, that was her first bogey of the week. She went on to card six more bogeys and a single birdie the rest of her round.
Ko made her second birdie of the day at No. 4 to briefly move two clear of Shin, who followed with a birdie of her own at the fourth. Ko again forged two ahead as she converted a birdie effort on the par-5 sixth.
Shin, who finished five shots behind Ko last year at the Canadian Women's Open, holed a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 sixth to join Ko at 17-under. After three pars in a row, Ko regained the lead with a birdie at the 10th.
Ko, who has won three professional tournaments, faltered to bogeys at 12 and 14 to slide one behind Shin at minus-16.
"They were pretty hard shots to make up-and downs," admitted Ko of the shots she had to try to make par at 12 and 14.
Shin, who ran off eight consecutive pars from the seventh, moved two ahead with a birdie at the par-5 15th. Shin tripped to her first bogey of the day on the par-3 17th. Ko then birdied the par-5 18th to grab share of the lead.
"I have more experience than her, and I have a really good tempo with my swing right now," said Shin, who owns 10 LPGA Tour titles. "I know she hits it great and her putting is good, so I think tomorrow will be good competition for us."
Ko will try to keep her emotions in check in the final round, and not worry about the money she's giving up by remaining an amateur.
"I don't like to share my emotions a lot, unless it's really big. I try to stay calm. Every win is meaningful, especially an LPGA event. I've just got to stay calm," Ko stated. "I don't really care anymore, I'm not going to win (the money) anyway."
NOTES: Defending champion Jessica Korda struggled to a 4-over 77 and fell into a share of 51st place ... Tseng won this title in 2010 and 2011 ... Karrie Webb, a four-time champion of this tournament, is tied for 35th at 5-under 214 after shooting 4-under 69 on Saturday.