LPGA Tour

Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions 2019

January 17-20

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

$1,200,000

January 17-20

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

$1,200,000

Round 3

Lydia Ko and Eun-hee Ji tied for the lead

January 19, 2019

New Zealand's Lydia Ko and South Korea's Eun-hee Ji each fired a five-under par 66 to share the lead after Saturday's third round of the LPGA Tournament of Champions.

Ko and Ji charged into contention by going low on the front side and parring their way home to stand on 13-under 200 after 54 holes at the Four Seasons Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Canada's Brooke Henderson, who led by two strokes when the day began, took a bogey at 18 to settle for a 69 and fall one stroke off the pace in third with American Nelly Korda fourth on 202 after the day's low round of 65.

The new season-opening event features celebrities playing alongside LPGA winners from the past two seasons and an unusual atmosphere for golf with music playing at the 18th tee and green when play is idle.

Ko opened her bogey-free round with a birdie, another followed at the third and she closed the front nine with back-to-back birdies then added another at the 12th and parred her way in, the last on a clutch six-foot putt.

Ko was able to relax even while being interviewed about her celebrity playing partners while on the 18th tee but Sunday's final round is forecast to offer high winds as well.

"Tomorrow with the weather forecast it will be a little trickier, but I know I've just got to be patient and continue to enjoy it," Ko said.

Ji birdied four holes in a row from the second through the fifth before a bogey halted her run. Ji also began the back nine with back-to-back birdies and parred the last seven holes to stay among the leaders.

"I still have to think about my new swing," Ji said of changes she has been working on in the off-season. "I still work through it during the round."

Henderson opened with a bogey but answered with back-to-back birdies at the par-3 fifth and par-4 sixth, birdied the par-5 10th and 13th then took a bogey at the par-3 14th but battled back with a birdie at 16.

World number one Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand fired a 75 to fall back, taking bogeys at the fourth and par-5 17th and a double bogey at 15 in a birdie-less round that left her sharing 13th at 209.

At 32 years, 8 months and 7 days of age, Eun-hee Ji would become the oldest winner from the Republic of Korea since Se Ri Pak won the 2010 Bell Micro LPGA Classic at 32 years, 7 months and 18 days of age.

Lydia Ko would earn her 16th career LPGA victory and move into a tie for 35th on the All-Time Wins List with Jan Stephenson.

Brooke Henderson would earn her eighth career LPGA victory and tie Sandra Post the most LPGA victories by a Canadian player.

The celebrity competition saw its first change at the top of the leaderboard, as MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz eagled the par-5 seventh hole en route to a third-round +39 and a three-day total of +116. The Fox analyst holds a four-point lead over MLB All-Star Mark Mulder (+112) and a five-point lead over 36-hole leader and defending celebrity champion Mardy Fish (+111).

“This is going to be a great test for me. Physically, I haven't been able to do this in a long time,” said Smoltz, who qualified for the 2018 U.S. Senior Open. “I've been strengthening my shoulder and really trying to get ready for these kinds of events in the future, and to be able to continue to hit balls without pain has been an absolute godsend.”

The celebrity competition is playing with a Modified Stableford scoring system. A double eagle earns 10 points, an ace earns eight points, an eagle earns five points, a birdie earns three points, a par earns two points, a bogey earns one points and a double bogey or higher earns zero points.

Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
T1
Lydia Ko
-13
66
68
66
200
T1
Eun-Hee Ji
-13
65
69
66
200
3
Brooke M. Henderson
-12
65
67
69
201
4
Nelly Korda
-11
70
67
65
202
T5
Mirim Lee
-9
67
68
69
204
6
Shanshan Feng
-9
71
67
66
204
7
Moriya Jutanugarn
-8
71
67
67
205
T8
Gaby Lopez
-7
69
68
69
206
T9
Stacy Lewis
-7
66
74
66
206
T10
Georgia Hall
-5
73
66
69
208
T10
Mi Hyang Lee
-5
68
71
69
208
T10
Marina Alex
-5
69
67
72
208
T13
Lexi Thompson
-4
67
69
73
209
T13
Ariya Jutanugarn
-4
67
67
75
209
T15
Cristie Kerr
-2
72
72
67
211
T15
Sei Young Kim
-2
69
69
73
211
T15
Annie Park
-2
68
70
73
211
T19
Danielle Kang
-1
68
74
70
212
T20
Amy Yang
E
75
69
69
213
T19
In Gee Chun
-1
70
71
71
212
T20
Brittany Lincicome
E
71
72
70
213
22
Anna Nordqvist
1
71
74
69
214
23
Pernilla Lindberg
2
77
70
68
215
T24
Nasa Hataoka
3
73
72
71
216
T24
Katherine Kirk
3
73
72
71
216
T24
Thidapa Suwannapura
3
68
69
79
216
Pos.
Player
To Par
R3
Total
T1
Lydia Ko
-13
66
200
T1
Eun-Hee Ji
-13
66
200
3
Brooke M. Henderson
-12
69
201
4
Nelly Korda
-11
65
202
T5
Mirim Lee
-9
69
204
6
Shanshan Feng
-9
66
204
7
Moriya Jutanugarn
-8
67
205
T8
Gaby Lopez
-7
69
206
T9
Stacy Lewis
-7
66
206
T10
Georgia Hall
-5
69
208
T10
Mi Hyang Lee
-5
69
208
T10
Marina Alex
-5
72
208
T13
Lexi Thompson
-4
73
209
T13
Ariya Jutanugarn
-4
75
209
T15
Cristie Kerr
-2
67
211
T15
Sei Young Kim
-2
73
211
T15
Annie Park
-2
73
211
T19
Danielle Kang
-1
70
212
T20
Amy Yang
E
69
213
T19
In Gee Chun
-1
71
212
T20
Brittany Lincicome
E
70
213
22
Anna Nordqvist
1
69
214
23
Pernilla Lindberg
2
68
215
T24
Nasa Hataoka
3
71
216
T24
Katherine Kirk
3
71
216
T24
Thidapa Suwannapura
3
79
216