Kang still in control

    377

    DANIELLE Kang continued her torrid play with an 8-under 63 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to hold a two-shot lead over fellow American Jessica Korda after three rounds of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

    Kang stands at 21-under 192 and has played bogey-free golf through three rounds at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club.

    Kang matched her career-best score but only holds a two-stroke lead due to Korda shooting a blistering,11-under 60 on Saturday.

    Korda was sensational on the back nine with an eagle on the par-5, 17th hole and seven birdies. She had nine birdies overall.

    Korda’s round was two shots better than her previous low and she fell one shot shy of matching Annika Sorenstam’s record 59 at the 2001 Standard Register PING in Phoenix.

    Overall, she is the sixth LPGA golfer to record a 60 or lower.

    “It was awesome,” Korda, 27, said. “I started off really strong today and then mellowed out a little bit. Was trying to get to some tougher pins; just playing it really safe.

    “Just on the back nine I don’t know what happened. I just turned it up. I had a lot of great looks and we were just really relaxed all day.”

    Korda hit 17 of 18 greens and needed just 25 putts in her lava-hot round.

    “Days like today don’t come often, so you really cherish them when they do,” said Korda, whose previous-best 62 came in the second round of the 2018 Honda LPGA Thailand, a tournament she won. “Everything has to come together to have a day like today. So, I’m very grateful that it came.”

    Korda’s stellar round was the only thing preventing Kang from opening up a large lead as she pursues her sixth career victory.

    Kang, 28, had four birdies on the front nine and four more on the back.

    “I think my mental game is pretty strong this week,” Kang said. “Just kind of chugging along. I know I’m being really repetitive, but that’s what I’m doing, is just focusing on what I need to hit and what I need to execute. That’s pretty much it.”

    Jessica Korda is also seeking her sixth win as she enters Sunday’s final round paired with Kang and younger sister Nelly.

    Nelly Korda is six shots behind Kang after carding a 67 in the third round. The 22-year-old Korda had six birdies but faltered late with bogeys on 15 and 18.

    South Korea’s In Gee Chun carded a 67 and is alone in fourth place at 13-under 200.