• Kyodo

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Nasa Hataoka carded an even-par 72 to drop to seven strokes off the lead after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

Hataoka, who entered the day in seventh place, equaled four birdies with bogeys at Lake Merced Golf Club to sit in a four-way tie for 10th with a 4-under 212 total.

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, who is gunning for her first LPGA Tour victory since 2016, took the lead after shooting a 5-under 67. She led at 11-under, one stroke ahead of American Jessica Korda.

Hataoka started the round strong with four birdies on the front nine, including three straight from No. 7, but struggled with four bogeys on the back nine.

“I played with a good rhythm on the front nine, but I had trouble grasping the distance on the back nine,” Hataoka said. “I’d like to play aggressively from the first hole in the final round and keep trying until the end.”

Ayako Uehara was in 44th with 218.

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