World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea fired a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead with Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen at the CP Women’s Open in Aurora, Ontario.
Ko, who is bogey free through 54 holes, carded seven birdies on her day at Magna Golf Club to move into a tie atop of the leaderboard at 18-under 198 alongside Larsen, the second-round leader who shot 66 for the third straight day.
Hot on their heels is defending champion and Canadian sweetheart Brooke Henderson, who rallied from falling eight shots out of the lead early in her round to finish just two shots back and alone in third place at 16 under.
Henderson, who turns 22 on Sept. 10, was 2 over through six holes before carding three straight birdies on Nos. 8-10. She made an eagle at the par-5 12th and four more birdies over the next five holes to shoot 7-under 29 on the back and 65 on the day.
“I kind of got off to a little bit of a rough start there early,” said Henderson, a nine-time LPGA winner who has two wins in 2019. “After I did that I was just like, ‘Let’s just get back to even through the front nine.’ I was able to birdie eight and nine to do that.
“Then the back nine I just said, ‘Let’s just go and try to make as many birdies as you can,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”
Henderson is aiming to become just the third player to defend her CP Women’s Open title, after New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (2012, 2013) and Pat Bradley (1985, 1986). She has won back-to-back tournament titles twice in her career, winning the 2018 and ‘19 Lotte Championship and the Cambia Portland Classic in 2015 and ‘16.
Ko birdied all four par-5s on the day after birdieing three of the four in each of her first two rounds.
Broch Larsen had four birdies on the front nine, including three in a row from Nos. 6-8. She opened the back nine with a bogey but bounced back with a birdie at the 12th and an eagle at the par-5 14th.
Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan moved into fourth place with a 65 and stands at 13 under.
Three players are tied for fifth place at 12 under: Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (66), American Amy Olson (68) and Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn (69). Seven players are knotted in a tie for eighth place at 11 under: Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, India’s Aditi Ashok, and Americans Lizette Salas, Jessica Korda, Megan Khang and Angel Yin.
The CP Women’s Open marks the final week of automatic qualifying for the top 10 U.S. players aiming to make the Solheim Cup team.
Three players who made the cut — Brittany Altomare, Ally McDonald and Yin — can play their way into the top eight of the Team USA Solheim Cup points standings with a strong finish at the CP Women’s Open.
Altomare, who currently sits eighth with 257.5 points, has the most chances with several combinations. She shot 71 on Saturday and stands tied for 22nd at 8 under. McDonald shot 69 and is tied for 45th at 4 under.
The 2019 event will be held Sept. 13-15 at the PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.
—Field Level Media