Published November 20, 2014
Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko only needed an even-par 72 on Saturday to take sole possession of the third-round lead of the Canadian Women's Open.
Ko, a second-round co-leader and this year's U.S. Women's Amateur Champion, finished 54 holes at 8-under 208 and is one stroke clear at Vancouver Golf Club.
Ko is chasing history and she's already made some earlier this year.
Ko became the youngest winner of a professional golf event earlier this year when, at the age of 14, she captured the Women's NSW Open.
If she were to make it to the winner's circle on Sunday, she would become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history and the first amateur to win on tour since JoAnne Carner in 1969.
There is quite a collection of talent in second to block Ko from getting into the record book.
Stacy Lewis, the leading money winner this year on tour, fired a 6-under 66 and is tied with former world No. 1 Jiyai Shin (69), reigning Evian Masters champion Inbee Park (70) and second-round co-leader Chella Choi (73). That group is one back at 7-under par.
"It's kind of a thrill to see lots of people and especially them trailing behind, yeah, it will be a little nerve-racking," said Ko. "Yeah 15-year-olds don't lead at an LPGA event all the time. I'm very surprised, but I've been playing really good golf and I've been really confident with my game."
Ko opened with a birdie at the first hole on Saturday, then parred her next four. She had a great chance from four feet at the second, but missed. She birdied the sixth, but lost a shot thanks to a bogey at the par-3 seventh.
Ko 3-putted the ninth green for a bogey, including a pulled 7-footer for par and her lead dwindled to a stroke. She got one back with a birdie at the par-5 10th, but her lead stayed at one shot.
The big names around her on the leaderboard couldn't make up any ground and Ko had a few opportunities to distance herself. The 15-year-old lipped out a 5- footer for birdie at 14 and her birdie putt at 15 hit the side of the hole.
Ko walked to the 18th green with a 2-stroke lead and hit her approach well left of the flag. She ran her long birdie putt three feet by the hole, then missed that putt and had a longer try for bogey than she did for par.
Ko converted the bogey effort and is now just 18 holes away from history.
"I wasn't putting that great today, but I don't think I putted horrible either," said Ko. "I'm definitely going to do some putting practice."
And of course not even Ko herself is really looking too far past Sunday.
"I mean, as far as this, I don't think I'll turn pro early or anything," she said. "If I don't win tomorrow, I don't think I'll be disappointed. If I do win, I'll take it like an honor."
Sydnee Michaels (69) and Moira Dunn (72) share sixth at minus-5.
First-round leader and world No. 1 Yani Tseng played poorly again on Saturday. She struggled to a 2-over 74 in round three and is tied for 21st at 1-under- par 215.
NOTES: The current record for youngest LPGA Tour winner belongs to Lexi Thompson. She was 16 years, seven months and eight days old when she captured last year's Navistar LPGA Classic...Defending champion Brittany Lincicome shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for 21st at 1-under.