KAWAGOE, Japan (Reuters) – Nelly Korda stumbled with a horror double-bogey on the par-three seventh but recovered brilliantly to hold the Olympic gold medal position with a one-stroke lead from Lydia Ko as the final group rounded the turn in the fourth round on Saturday.
Korda was 16-under as she headed to the 10th, with India’s Aditi Ashok tied for third on 14-under with Dane Emily Kristene Pedersen at Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Overnight leader by three strokes, world number one Korda extended the gap to four with an early birdie but faltered as Ko made a flying start to put the pressure on.
After Ko rolled in a fourth successive birdie on the fifth hole, Korda slid a four-foot birdie putt past the cup to see her lead shaved to two strokes.
With Ashok also nipping at her heels, the American then imploded on the seventh after landing short of the green.
She needed three attempts to chip over a ledge and run the ball near the pin after her first and second efforts landed short and rolled straight back to her.
After tapping in for five to fall to 14-under with Ko and Ashok, Korda tossed her putter at her bag and strode to the next tee.
Korda then drove into a fairway bunker on the eighth but recovered brilliantly, draining a 21-foot birdie putt to cling to the joint lead.
She rolled in an eight-foot putt for birdie on the ninth to regain the outright lead after Ko’s long birdie putt came up short.
Ashok bogeyed the hole to fall to second.
Home hope Mone Inami was four strokes off the lead in fifth position through 10 holes.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)