Kim takes lead into final round of LPGA Founders Cup

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South Korea’s Kim Hyo-Joo fired seven birdies in a six-under par 66 to take a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the LPGA Founders Cup.

Kim wrapped up her round in dying light at Wildfire Golf Club, her 16-under par total of 200 giving her a two-shot lead over American Stacy Lewis.

She said every aspect of her game felt good.

“Been really good with the driver… totally all the clubs,” said Kim, who edged Australian veteran Karrie Webb to win the Evian Championship last September, making her first US LPGA tour title a major.

“If I miss, I save, so I’m playing good. All the putts feel good.”

After her only bogey of the day, at the par-four 13th, Kim birdied three in a row, capping the burst with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 16th.

Lewis had six birdies in her five-under 67 for 202, and was one stroke in front of fellow Americans Alison Lee and Kim Kaufman.

Lee rocketed up the leaderboard with a stellar nine-under par 63 that included nine birdies.

Kaufman, who had grabbed the halfway lead ahead of Kim when the second round was completed on Saturday morning, posted a third-round 70 for a 13-under total of 203.

World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand headed a group on 204 after her second straight 69. She was joined by South Koreans Jang Ha-Na — who posted her third successive 68 — and Lee Mi-Hyang, who signed for a 68.

The tournament had been behind schedule since a four-hour weather delay on Thursday morning.

Sixty-six players had to complete their second rounds on Saturday morning, and it was a race against the desert sunset to complete the third round.

“It’s nice not having to wake up super early tomorrow,” said Lewis. “Just not having to think about those shots all night — it’s just nice to be done and be able to focus on tomorrow.”

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