Monday, August 13, 2018

Lydia Ko leads Women's PGA Championship in bid for third straight major

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — When Lydia Ko won the past two major championships, she was the one lurking behind.

Today at Sahalee, the top-ranked Ko will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Women's PGA Championship.

"I can't control what the other girls are doing," Ko said. "So (I'll) just try my best out there. We've still got a long 18 holes to go."

Ko, 19, shot 1-under 70 on Saturday to reach 2-under 211. She won the Evian Championship in September in France for her first major title and took the ANA Inspiration in April in California, giving her a chance to become the fifth LPGA player to win three straight majors.

"It's really cool to, obviously, have my name in those records among those amazing players. And I think that's the really cool thing about it," Ko said. "But when I'm out there I'm not thinking so much about records and what could happen."

Ko used her deft short game to save shots on the 16th and 17th holes but couldn't avoid dropping a stroke at the last when her third shot went to the back of the green and she missed a 15-foot par putt.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome and Gerina Piller were tied for second. They each shot 71, with Lincicome also bogeying the 18th. Second round co-leaders Brooke Henderson and Mirim Lee each shot 73 to drop into the group at even par. Only three players were under par even as Sahalee played easier after overnight rain.

Along with Ko, Lincicome is the only other player in the field not to post a round over par in the tournament.

"It's easier to come from behind than be the leader," the two-time major champion said. "I feel like I'm in great shape."

PGA: Daniel Berger has yet to win on the tour. He's confident enough to believe it's a matter of time, and he has put himself in position to make the FedEx St. Jude Classic his first title.

Having Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker just three strokes behind isn't shaking his self-assurance either.

"If it was Tiger Woods behind me, I would have the same mentality," Berger said after 1-under 69 that left him with the same three-stroke lead he had after 36 holes in Memphis. "It doesn't matter. It's golf. The golf course doesn't know who is playing it, so I'm just going to go out there and be aggressive and have some fun, and that's all I can do."

Berger, the 2014-15 rookie of the year, had led after a round on tour once before. Now he has led consecutive rounds, and he had four birdies, bogey and double bogey on a hot, sticky day to reach 10-under 200.

Mickelson (68), Stricker (66) and Points (64) were 7 under.

CHAMPIONS: Bernhard Langer was all alone under par at windy Philadelphia Cricket Club. Langer, 58, also was in position to win the Senior Players Championship for the third straight year, shooting 1-under 69 to sit at 2-under 208 for a three-stroke lead over Jay Don Blake with a round left in Flourtown, Pa. Blake birdied the par-4 18th for 71. Jeff Sluman (70), Woody Austin (71), Wes Short Jr. (72), Bart Bryant (72) and second-round leader Brandt Jobe (74) were tied for third at 2 over.