American prodigy Nelly Korda is just 18 holes away from becoming the latest member of her illustrious family to claim an Australian Open title.
Korda, 20, surged into the lead on moving day at the Women’s Australian Open after firing five-under 67.
The World No.16 – whose older sister, Jessica, lifted the Patricia Bridges Bowl in 2012 – birdied the 18th hole at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide and will now sleep on a three-shot lead over 2016 winner, Haru Nomura.
Korda’s father, Petr, won the 1998 tennis Australian Open and her younger brother, Sebastian, is the reigning boys’ tennis Australian Open champion.
“I’m not even going to think about it,” Korda said when asked about joining her sister, father and brother in holding Australian Open victories.
“There’s still so much golf to be played … (I’m) just going to take it shot by shot.
“I know everyone is going to try and catch up, so (I'm) just going to try and play my game and try to stay consistent.”
Playing alongside Korda, Nomura birdied the opening two holes and was suddenly leading the tournament, as overnight co-leaders Madelene Sagstrom (77) and Wei-Ling Hsu (74) struggled in the group behind.
But the 26-year-old Japanese player – whose 2016 title came at The Grange – stalled on the back nine and eventually signed for two-under 70.
Three players share third place on an international leaderboard … Englishwoman Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70), South Korean Jeongeun Lee6 (67) and overnight leader Wei-Ling Hsu (74) are each four shots adrift of Korda.
“In the first and second rounds, I was not happy with my putter, but today I made putts really well,” said Lee6, who only putted 28 times today and is vying to become the third consecutive Korean – following Ha Na Jang and Jin Young Ko – to win the event.
RIGHT: Nomura and Korda embrace after round three of the Women's Australian Open. PHOTO: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images.
Meanwhile, leading Aussie hopeful Hannah Green didn’t enjoy her best day – mixing three birdies with four bogies – but is still T9 after recording a one-over 73.
“With how I was playing, I probably should be happy with one over … It could have been a hell of a lot worse,” Green confessed.
“I didn’t think I would (still) be the leading Australian,” said the Perth product after signing her card.
“I thought some of the girls would jump right up … So that’s a nice thing to have.”
Sharing sixth place is defending champion Jin Young Ko, whose three-under 69 featured five birdies and two bogies.
The South Korean will start the final round five shots behind Korda and sits alongside Bronte Law of England and Yu Liu of China.
Earlier, five-time champion Karrie Webb and World No.7 Minjee Lee both shot rounds of one-under 71 to share 18th place heading into Sunday.
The round of the day belonged to American Amy Olson, who fired four birdies and an eagle to post six-under 66 and move to T18.
“I have been out here long enough … Some days it’s your day and some days it isn’t,” said the 26-year-old.
“You just kind of stay patient … It was really fun making a couple long putts early.”