Saturday’s roundup: Ko poised for another major title

Associated Press
Lydia Ko follows her shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the U.S. Women's Open Saturday.

San Martin, Calif. — When Lydia Ko first came to a U.S. Women's Open four years ago, her hands were shaking so much out of nerves. Now with two major titles under her belt by age 19, Ko is able to keep those emotions under control and project a picture of calmness on the golf course.

Ko birdied the 18th hole to cap a 2-under 70 in the third round Saturday that put her in the lead at the U.S. Women's Open, bolstering her chance for her third major title in less than a year.

"I think nerves are good because it means you're excited," Ko said. "You're ready. It means a lot to you. You've got to be able to control it. But a little bit of nerves is always good. It can end up being a little bit of adrenaline."

Whatever Ko is doing is working.

She became the youngest woman to win a major last year at the Evian Championship and followed that up by winning the ANA Inspiration this spring. Now she's in contention for her first U.S. Open title after failing to make the top 10 in her first four appearances.

Ko has a one-shot lead over 2009 winner Eun Hee Ji and Sung Hyun Park. Brittany Lang and Amy Yang are two shots back at 5 under, and Angela Stanford is in sixth place at 4 under at CordeValle.

"I'm going to just try and enjoy it, just focus on the shot I have in front of me and not think about what everybody else is doing," Ko said. "If I think that way, I won't get too carried away with what position I am at certain parts of the final day."

Ko's week at the Open got off to a somewhat shaky start when she was tied for 52nd after a 73 in the first round in the difficult afternoon conditions.

But Ko got into contention with a 66 in the second round and then took sole possession of the lead on the final hole Saturday. Her approach shot spun back about 9 feet from the hole. She calmly sank the putt and then threw her ball into the stands in celebration.

Champions Tour

Paul Goydos shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to forge a tie for the lead with John Riegger after two rounds of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Goydos made eagle at the par-4 16th hole and followed with a birdie at No. 17 to finish at 11-under 133 with Riegger, who shot 67.

First-round leader Scott Dunlap shot 70 and was alone in second, one shot behind.

European Tour

Alex Noren of Sweden birdied the last two holes to extend his lead to two shots at the Scottish Open on Saturday after a third round that ended in heavy rain at the Castle Stuart links.

Noren shot a 4-under 68 to move to 12-under 204, two clear of Tyrrell Hatton of England (66) and Matteo Manassero of Italy (68).

The top 15 players are separated by six shots in the last event before the British Open at Royal Troon next week. With the weather turning nasty for the final few hours of the third round, this could be good preparation for the third major of the year.

Noren — the second-round leader by a shot — defied the conditions by hitting a 219-yard tee shot to 3 feet at No. 17 and then getting up and down at the par-5 18th for another birdie.