KAWAGOE, Japan-Nelly Korda had to work for pars instead of making birds look routine, and the 23-year-old American did well enough to keep his distance in the pursuit of an Olympic golf medal.
Korda saves par with a 5-foot putt on the 17th hole and then comes up and down from behind the 18th with a pleasant pitch to 4 feet to finish with 12 straight pars on a 2-under 69.
She had a three-shot lead over India’s Aditi Ashok, who is almost last in the field of 60 players at a distance and near the top in determination. She had a 68.
And for now, there’s one last round.
Olympic golf officials plan to start playing as early as possible on Saturday and take advantage of a window they hope is large enough to hit 72 holes before a tropical storm comes into play.
Korda sighed as her last putt fell. It was a day when her swing was down and she was able to keep up at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Korda was at 15 under 198 while trying to add a gold medal to a year in which she won her first major and no. 1 in the world.
Behind her was another battle that was building up the bronze. Mone Inami of Japan, who got the honor of hitting the first shot, missed a 7-foot putt on the last hole for 68. (66), Hanna Green of Australia (67) and Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark (70).