SYLVANIA, Ohio — With two late birdies, Lydia Ko carded a 3-under 68 and doubled her lead in the Marathon Classic. The former world No. 1 is four shots ahead, eyeing her first LPGA win in two years.
Ko has gone 44 tournaments worldwide since her last victory.
Danielle Kang, who won last week at nearby Inverness Club, had a 70 and was four shots behind. Kang got within two shots of the lead with a birdie on the par-3 14th, but she bogeyed the next and picked up one birdie on the final two holes, both of them par 5s.
Ko, meanwhile, birdied the 16th and 17th and finished four ahead. Ko was at 16-under 197.
She had a one-shot lead going into the third round at Highland Meadows and seized control early, stretching her lead to three shots at the turn. Unlike the opening two rounds, when birdies were required to keep pace, this round was all about pars. Ko ran off nine straight pars until her big finish.
It was shaping up as a two-player race.
Minjee Lee of Australia had a 68, while Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who started the round one shot behind, struggled to a 73. They were at 10-under 203, six shots behind.
Lexi Thompson also lost ground with a 73 and fell 12 shots back of Ko.
Ko was heralded as the future of the LPGA Tour when she won the Canadian Women’s Open as a 15-year-old amateur. She was 17 when she first rose to No. 1 in the world, and she compiled 14 wins and two majors before turning 20.
But she has only one victory the past four years.
Ko is a two-time winner of the Marathon Classic. A third win could be just what she needs to get back on track.