Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Lydia Ko carded a 5-under 67 on Saturday and moved one stroke clear of the field after 54 holes of the JTBC Founders Cup.
Ko ended three rounds at 16-under-par 200. She will go for her third LPGA Tour title on Sunday.
First- and second-round leader Mirim Lee managed a 2-under 70 and she fell into a tie for second at minus-15. She was joined there by Jessica Korda, who birdied the last two holes for a 6-under 66.
Sun Young Yoo dropped a shot on 18 en route to a 4-under 68. She is alone in fourth at 14-under 202.
Azahara Munoz fired an 8-under 64 to move to 13-under 203. She stands alongside Michelle Wie (67), Amy Yang (67), So Yeon Ryu (68) and Chella Choi (68) at Wildfire Golf Club.
Defending champion Stacy Lewis shot 67 and is tied for 10th at minus-12, while Cristie Kerr jumped from the cut line into a tie for 13th as she fired a 9- under 63 to move to minus-11. Kerr's 63 matched the course record that Ai Miyazato set last year.
Lee birdied the second, but gave that shot right back as she bogeyed the third and fell into a tie for the lead with Creamer. Yoo carded three birdies in a 4-hole span from the second to gain a share of the lead with Lee.
Ko jumped ahead of everyone with a 5-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fifth. That moved her to 14-under and she remained there as she parred four in a row.
Lee joined Ko in the lead with a birdie on the sixth. Lee made it two in row as she birdied No. 7 to move one clear of her playing partner, Ko.
Ko answered with a birdie on the 10th, but Lee responded with a birdie on the par-5 11th. Ko fell two back as she bogeyed the 12th, but there was a 2-stroke swing at the par-5 15th.
Lee drove into a bush and had to take an unplayable lie penalty. She hit her fourth to eight feet, but failed to make the par-saving putt. Meanwhile, Ko knocked her second to 11 feet and she 2-putted for birdie. They were tied at 15-under.
Korda, who was bogey-free for her round, birdied the final two holes to make it a 3-way tie for the lead. Yoo briefly made it a 4-way tie as she birdied the 17th. However, she bogeyed the last to fall back.
"As long as you hit fairways and greens, you're just fine. There are certain greens that are faster than others, depending on if you're down grain or into the grain," Korda explained. "It's perfect scoring conditions I think. So as long as you can keep hitting good shots and giving yourself opportunities, you're going to drop a couple, but definitely a low score is going to take it tomorrow."
Lee parred three in a row to close out her round, while Ko followed her birdie on 15 with an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to grab the lead at 16-under. She parred the last to end there.
"Before I went out, I looked at the scores and I noticed that there were way more birdies on the front nine than the other days. I personally played much better on the front nine, so I was really happy with that," Ko stated. "I've just got to take the positive out of it and I'm just going to play my own game, if somebody goes crazy low like shooting 10-under, 9-under or whatever, it's not something I can control. So I'm going to control to the most what I can do."
NOTES: Ko is the two-time defending champion at the Canadian Women's Open, and both of this wins came when she was an amateur ...This is the third time Ko has had at least a piece of the 54-hole lead on the LPGA Tour. She has won one of the previous two ... Ten of the top 12 on the leaderboard have at least one LPGA Tour victory.