Lydia Ko may be a little older, a little wiser and minus the trademark spectacles she wore as an amateur when she won at the Vancouver Golf Club three years ago, then successfully defended the following year.
The more things change, the more they stay the same as Ko is back in familiar territory atop the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open leaderboard, tied with third round leader Candie Kung at 12 under going into Sunday’s final round.
Ko, had a bogey-free round going with four birdies, but that changed on the 18th hole as she finished with a three-under 69 on the day.
“I left a couple putts out there, but then, I holed some breaking putts, too. Everything just balances out. Overall, I played really solid today, so I’m happy with the way I’m hitting it and the way I’m putting it,” said Ko.
“I think every round, unless I shoot 18 under par, I’m probably going to say, `Hey, I knew it could have been better,’ but no, I’m playing solid and that’s the mindset I’ve got to have and just have fun out there (Sunday),” she said.
After a 64 on Friday, Kung came back with a one-under 71 that included four birdies and three bogeys.
“I hit the ball good and it was actually one of the best ball-striking days I had all week, just missed a couple putts here and there. Those were all wrong reads, but I’m hitting it good, putting it good,” said Kung.
Alison Lee shot a 66 on Saturday and sits two shots back at 10 under, while first round leader Karine Icher is at nine under after an even par 72.
Alena Sharp remains the top Canadian going into the final round at two under, good for a tie for 28th after her one-under 71 on Saturday.
“I had a lot of good opportunities. I just didn’t make putts. I found the pins were pretty tough. I was above some of them today. It was hard to stop it below it. You had to just tap it down there and hope it’s on the right line,” said Sharp.
“I just didn’t get it started on my line the way I wanted to on some of the putts, but other than that, yeah, it was a really good round. I played solid all day,” she said.
After a bogey and a double bogey on the second and third holes, Brooke Henderson came back with three birdies to finish with an even par 72 on Saturday.
Henderson, 17, is tied for 50th at one over after winning her first LPGA event last week in Portland, which has made her the focus of the Vancouver crowd all week, including Saturday when she had the first tee time of the day.
“I had a huge crowd, and it was as you said a very early tee time, much earlier than I would have liked, but they were pretty much from the get-go, an amazing crowd,” said Henderson.
“It makes it exciting being able to play in front of your home crowd even though you’re not playing your best. You still have the whole country behind you,” she said.
“It’s been really busy but hopefully it’s something that I get used to and hopefully, I’ll have lots of wins and good finishes in the future,” she added.
“I think coming back to Canada was pretty cool, being able to celebrate with the whole country and having them really be the first ones to see my game right after the win, I think, is really good, as well,” said Henderson.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., is tied for 67th at four over after a 75 on Saturday.
The leaderboard is here.