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Nelly Korda keeps lead, 15-under after 54 holes

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Nelly Korda kept rolling in Tokyo on Friday and seemingly faces two challengers entering the final round at Kasumigaseki Country Club on Saturday.

Korda was 2-under in the third round and her score of 69 is good for a three-shot advantage at 15-under after 54 holes.

To claim gold, Korda must beat the still-rising temperatures and hold off India’s Aditi Ashok.

“I’m trying to stay as present as possible. I’m trying to stick to my game plan, trying to execute it,” said Korda, whose older sister, Jessica, is 2-under and tied for 29th overall.

“Obviously there’s going to be times where I’m going to not hit a shot well and that’s going to stray me from my game plan but I’m just really keeping my mind stuck to my game plan.”

Ashok sits at 12-under and alone in second place. Korda is up five strokes over New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Hannah Green (Australia), Emily Kristine Pedersen (Denmark) and Japan’s Mone Inami.

Like Korda, Green and Inami are making their Olympics debut. Ko won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Ko had five birdies Friday but walked off the course feeling as if she missed an opportunity after capping her round with two bogeys.

“I was so upset with myself,” she said. “… But I think I just stayed patient and there’s so much golf ahead of me. So I just tried to play my heart out and I played the back nine really well today, which was the aspect that I kind of struggled over the last couple days. So definitely nice to know if issue on that. Hopefully good momentum into the 18 holes we get to play tomorrow.”

With high temperatures and potential for major storms, the final-round format will include golfers teeing off at No. 1 and No. 10 with an early morning start scheduled for 6:30 a.m. local time.

Nelly Korda said she got a little “sloppy” in the heat. She bogeyed the par-5 8th with an atypical three-putt but carded par on 10 consecutive holes to close out the third round.

Americans Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang are tied for 34th at 1-under for the tournament.

–Field Level Media

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