NAPLES — Lydia Ko shot a tournament-record 10-under 62 Friday to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Tour Championship, putting the top-ranked New Zealander in position to win the player of the year award with a victory Sunday.
Ko birdied four of the first six holes and had seven birdies and a bogey on the back nine to get to 12-under 132 in the season finale. Ryann O'Toole (67) and So Yeon Ryu (68) were tied for second, and Sei Young Kim (68) and Beatriz Recari (68) followed at 8 under.
"Going into today definitely my goal wasn't the 62," said Ko, the 2014 winner at Tiburon Golf Club. "The first three holes made great birdies. I was going in with really good momentum, and I was able to carry that for pretty much the rest of my round. I think I was putting good, so if I was within a distance that I felt comfortable I felt like, 'Hey, I could hole this.' "
Ko needs a victory to top Ariya Jutanugarn in the player of the year race, and she also would take the season points title and $1 million bonus with a win. The points in the CME Globe standings were reset for the finale, so Ko, Jutanugarn and Brooke Henderson all control their destinies.
"I think the big key mind-set for me is that I've been not really thinking about everything that could happen," Ko said.
The 62 matched Ko's lowest score of the season, shot in the second round of her Walmart NW Arkansas victory in June. She has four wins this year.
PGA: Canadian rookie Mackenzie Hughes shot 5-under 67 on the Plantation course at Sea Island in St. Simons Island, Ga., and built a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic. He was at 14-under 128. C.T. Pan, another tour rookie, shot 64 on the Seaside course and was two back. Chad Campbell had 65 and was part of a group three shots off the lead. Scoring was so good the cut was at 5-under par. Among those missing the cut were Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson and tournament host Davis Love.
PGA Europe: Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari shared a one-stroke lead halfway through the Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after shooting 5-under 67s. They each made six birdies and moved to 9-under 135, one better than Lee Westwood. Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson stayed in touch with his rivals for the season points title. The Swede shot 69 to reach 3 under, the same as No. 2 Danny Willett (70) and one behind Alex Noren (69).