Ko slips back but still in hunt at British Open

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Lydia Ko knows her putter will need to heat up if she’s to win the British Golf Open.

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 22: Lydia Ko during the second round of the Bank of Hope LPGA Golf Tournament at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, March 22, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona (Photo by Will Powers/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: ©Icon Sportswire All Rights Reserved

Ko carded a third round one over par 72 to slip from a tie for fourth to a share of seventh.

The two-time major champion is now two over for the tournament, six shots behind the leader, Germany’s Sophia Popov, heading into tomorrow morning’s (NZ time) final round.

“I was really struggling with the putter and I said to my caddie, man my putting speed control has gone out the window, haha. I was leaving it short and hitting putts long, so hopefully I can dial that in for tomorrow and just keep hitting all my other shots solidly like I have been doing for the past two days.”

Popov grabbed a three-shot lead at Royal Troon as she carded a bogey-free four-under-par 67 in the third round.

The 27-year-old world number 304 equalled the lowest round of the week to put herself in contention for a maiden major title, posting an eagle and two birdies on another difficult scoring day.

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Popov, who qualified for the Open with a top-10 finish at the Marathon Classic this month, showed great composure to sink a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole as she cemented her position atop the leaderboard.

“I’m extremely happy. Four under and bogey-free is more than I could have hoped for,” Popov said.

“I managed to not put myself in positions where I was freaking out. I was playing solid and that’s because I was very patient.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m not going to be super nervous tomorrow morning – the nerves are going to be there so I need to realise that and play with them.”

Australian Minjee Lee and Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura are the only other two players under-par for the tournament, with both one-under overall after posting third-round scores of 69.

Overnight leader Dani Holmqvist, who was the only player to finish under-par on Friday, fell out of contention after a dismal round of 77.

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Meanwhile Danny Lee is

And Auckland’s Ryan Fox is tied for 11th following the third round of the Wales Open.

RNZ/Reuters

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