New Zealand’s Lydia Ko has grabbed the outright lead at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship after shooting a five-under 67 at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco. Ko leads by one from American Jessica Korda with Australia’s Minjee Lee three strokes back in outright third.

With six birdies, Ko tied the low round of the day as she aims to win for the first time since the 2016 Marathon Classic.

This is her first 54-hole lead since that win in 2016, proving her love for this course where she won for the first time as an LPGA member (and has won twice on as a non-member).

Ko, also a member at the Lake Merced Golf Club, was naturally very satisfied with her third round performance, which equalled the lowest of her year.

“I love San Francisco. I’m a member here so sometimes I get some friendly member bounces. But it brings back a lot of great memories and I knew no matter how well I played I was going to have a fun time,” smiled Ko.

Beginning the day three shots off the pace, the world No.18 fought until the end to establish a valuable lead.

“Until that moment you are taking off your glove and the ball goes in the final hole on the last, you can never give up and that’s just what I’m trying to do. And as long as there’s another hole to be played, another shot to be played, you’ve got another birdie opportunity.”

With 14 greens in regulation, it was on the 11th hole where the highlight of Ko’s round occurred. After missing the green to the right, she holed an amazing bunker shot to claim the lead.

Ko went on to make birdies on 15 and 16 to finish with a flurry. Even with two agonisingly close birdie attempts on the final two holes, it was still enough to set up an exciting Sunday.