Lydia Ko fired a 66, the best round of the day, to haul herself into medal contention in the Olympic women’s golf tournament today.
Ko, the silver medallist in Rio five years ago, lies on 203, 10 under par, and is in a tie for third with three other golfers.
The tournament is led by American Nelly Korda, who is on 15 under par, and Indian Aditi Ashok is the surprise package, in second place on 12 under.
Ko, who has shot 70, 67, 66, is level with Australian Hannah Green, who sank a late birdie to climb to 10 under, Denmark’s Emily Pedersen and Japan’s Mone Inami, who dropped a shot at the last.
The placings are especially significant because there is a threat of a typhoon for Tokyo tomorrow with a suggestion the fourth round might be cancelled, in which case the four golfers would share the bronze.
In an effort to get around the weather problem, organisers have pushed the start time for the fourth round forward to 6.30am, though the leaders would tee off several hours later.
Defending champion Inbee Park of Korea, a former world No 1, is out of the running at 3 under, but she has fared better than several other big-name golfers. American Lexi Thompson is 1 under and Canadian Brooke Henderson and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn are on level par.
Ko kept her nerve well today. Her approaches and scrambling were excellent, but even so she faced some tricky putts for par and sank them all. She was the only one of the frontrunners who did not card a bogey in the third round.
The New Zealander was asked about her potential tactics for the final round and explained the dilemma: “If I really go for it tomorrow, I could fall further behind, or I could end up on the podium. That’s the thing about golf. You never know.”
She said she had her fingers crossed the weather allowed the fourth round to be played. “The forecast for tomorrow is a little better than it was a couple of days ago.”
The heat on the course today was fierce and some of the golfers visibly wilted.
Ko said she took every possible precaution.
“Derek, my caddy, did everything he could for me. He constantly had an umbrella over me, he kept the ice bag ready and he made sure I stayed hydrated. Also a friend gave me an electrolyte substance to add to my water.
“You give it 110 percent of everything you’ve got and you’re still just trying to survive out there!”Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games