KAWAGOE, Saitama Pref. – World No. 1 Nelly Korda pulled within tantalizing reach of the gold medal in Olympic women’s golf on Friday, while Aditi Ashok boosted India’s hopes of an unlikely podium spot after the third round at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
The overnight leader by four strokes, American Korda carded a two-under 69 to lead by three from Ashok (68). Japan’s Mone Inami sits five shots off the pace in a four-way tie for third.
“I’ve been actually really calm for the last three days, I haven’t got really got nervous,” Korda told reporters after saving par on the 18th with a splendid up-and-down.
“I handled myself really well and sweet. I’ve tried to stay as present as possible.
“I’m really working on that … not to look too far ahead.”
Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko stormed into medal contention, with the New Zealander shooting a 66 to finish in the bronze position on 10-under with Australian Hannah Green (67), Dane Emily Kristene Pedersen (70) and Inami (68).
Japan’s Nasa Hataoka sits at eight-under, two shots out of the bronze medal position.
Korda, on a 15-under total of 198, and Ashok could well have their medals sewn up already depending on the weather.
With the threat of a tropical storm brewing, organizers have brought tee times forward on Saturday morning in the hope of completing the final round.
If the round is unable to be completed, the tournament will revert to the 54-hole results.
Korda rolled in three early birdies but a bogey on the par-five eighth stalled her momentum on another sweltering day.
Though not playing her best, she was a model of control as she notched 10 consecutive pars on the way to the clubhouse.
In her second Olympics, and with her mom carrying her bag, world No. 200 Ashok played superbly, rolling in a birdie on the 17th to take outright second and put some pressure on Korda.
Rio champion Park Inbee’s hopes of defending her title all but ended with a 71, leaving her 12 strokes adrift of Korda.
China’s first major winner Feng Shanshan shot a 68 to be eight behind the leader.
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