Lydia Ko remains on track to rewrite history and become the first golfer to win both the New Zealand and Australian Strokeplay titles in the same year.

Ko, who began the day with a five shot lead over Cecilia Cho and lost the lead at one stage, responded to a couple of double bogeys to card an even par 74 in beautiful conditions at the Russley Golf Club.

The amicable teenager, who will turn 14 on Sunday, remains five in front shot of her good friend Cho into the final round as she eyes her first New Zealand Strokeplay title win.

“It would mean a lot to win the New Zealand Strokeplay,” said Ko.

“I have never played that well in this event, I remember I shot 79, 79 on my birthday at Remuera [2009] and didn’t go well at Napier [2010] so it is nice to be in this position.

“Five shots is a big lead but this isn’t a very long course and you can shoot some good scores pretty easily, so I need to keep playing well.”

Ko, who made fine birdies on the 16th and 18th, was proud to come home strong after a disastrous double bogey on the 11th.

The New Zealand rep thinned her shot from the bunker and ended up on the path. Her nearest point of relief was in the garden which she opted for because she didn’t want to damage her club.

Ko made a fine up and down from the bunker to make double bogey.

Meantime the 16-year-old Cho had an even par 74 and is looking forward to make a move in round four.

Their closest rivals are Filipino golfer Chihiro Ikeda (75) and Julianne Alvarez (Manor Park) who are 15 shots back from the lead and 10 back from Cho as another national title is a two horse race with Ko and Cho in a world of their own in terms of class.

Both of the top ranked women in the world have won countless titles in New Zealand but neither has claimed the New Zealand Women’s Strokeplay title before.
The World No.2 Cho and No.3 Ko have enjoyed a number of top quality battles recently including a playoff at the Australian Strokeplay and the North Island Strokeplay where Ko prevailed both times.

Cho has the chance to make her own indelible mark on history next week when she’ll attempt to become the first woman to win the New Zealand Amateur title three times in a row since Miss Kate Rattray from the Otago Golf Club.

Rattray won the event three times in succession in 1898 (Dunedin), 1899 (Hutt) and 1900 (Christchurch).

Both Ko and Cho are superstars in the making and neither of them are strangers to rewriting history.

A good crowd will follow them around again tomorrow morning as both of them engage in what will be another fascinating battle – this time for the New Zealand
Women’s Strokeplay title.

The lead group of Ko, Cho and Ikeda will begin their final round tomorrow from the first tee at 8:24am.



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