Lydia Ko lines up her shot at the fourth tee during the third round of the LPGA’s Palos Verdes Championship golf tournament. Photo / AP
There will be three chances Monday could be a winning day for New Zealand golfers.
Lydia Ko, Steven Alker and Ryan Fox, who have all recorded victories already in 2022, will go into the final rounds of their tournaments in contention tomorrow.
Ko bounced back from a shocking start to her third round at the Palos Verdes Championship in California with three dropped shots over the opening four holes seeing her slip from overnight second to outside the top 10.
But the world No 3 recorded five birdies over the next 11 holes to jump into a share of the lead with Aussie Hannah Green before a bogey at the 17th halted the Kiwi’s run, finishing with a one-under 70.
“I think I made it a little harder than it was,” Ko said. “But considering how I started, to finish under par for the day, upwards and onwards.
“It was really windy – there is a huge difference between playing in the morning and the afternoon. Luckily, in the last few holes the wind died down, so made it a little bit easier.”
Ko will start the final round at seven-under, one shot behind Green, with a fearsome chasing pack of 17 players at five and four-under.
“It should be fun,” Ko said. “I’m looking forward to it. Always good to be in contention.”
Champions Tour winner Alker is meanwhile tied for the lead at the Insperity Invitational event in Texas following a seven-under 65 in the second round.
Alker had a wild time on the back nine, with opening and closing pars bookending two eagles, three birdies and two bogeys as he heads into the third and final round sharing the lead at 12-under with Americans Brandt Jobe and Steve Stricker.
The 50-year-old lost a playoff at the ClubCorp Classic last week, after coming off a victory at the Rapiscan Systems Classic. It was Alker’s seventh straight round in the 60s as he looks set for a fifth top 5 finish in just seven tournaments this year.
Over in Europe, Fox has a chance for a second DP World Tour title in 2022 but will be ruing late bogeys as he heads into the final round of the Catalunya Championship in Spain.
The Kiwi world No 113 led the tournament during the third round but bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes saw him card a two-under 70, dropping the 35-year-old to a share of fifth place at seven-under.
South Africa’s Oliver Bekker leads the tournament at 11-under after a third round 67, holding a two-shot lead over Laurie Canter of England with Italian duo Edoardo Molinari and Lorenzo Gagli a further shot back.
Fox continued his dominance of the par fives on the Stadium Course in Girona with three birdies but came unstuck on two par threes.
Fox went out in 35 for the third straight time this week with two birdies and a bogey before picking up three more birdies at 10, 12 and 15 to move to nine-under. However late mistakes at the par-three 16th and the par-four last hole saw Fox slip back down the leaderboard.