Now former World No.1 Ko is one round away from ending more than two years without a victory – and claiming just her second in four seasons.

Ko felt back pain on the front nine, received treatment from a trainer and played bogey-free over the last 15 holes at Highland Meadows for a three-under 68.

"I don't have a back injury, so I think this is a one-off thing," she said.

Ko is at 16-under 197 and clear of in-form American Danielle Kang (70).


Lee had three front-nine birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th, to go with two back-nine bogeys, in her round of 68.

The World No.8 is tied for third with Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who started the round one shot behind Ko, but struggled to a 73.

They were at 10-under 203, six shots behind Ko.

Queenslander Katherine Kirk had a 71 on Saturday to be five-under in a share of 16th.

Ko has gone 44 tournaments worldwide since her last victory but has already won the Marathon Classic twice.

"I think tomorrow I'm going to go out there and not try to protect my lead, but go out there and play the best golf I can," Ko said.

World No.2 Kang, who won last week at nearby Inverness Club, is her closest challenger.

"Some days your game is all there and some days you just kind of have to make it work and you have new challenges every day," Kang said.