The biggest move of the third round belonged to the reigning silver medalist. Lydia Ko shot a 66 on Friday to make up six places and fight for third place with Hannah Green from Australia, Emily Pedersen from Denmark and Mone Inami from Japan.
Now Ko is hoping that she and the rest of the field have some luck on their side.
“For me, where I am today, I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and toes and press everything the weather gods allow us to play tomorrow,” said the 24-year-old New Zealander. “I feel like the Olympics itself went through so much, and Tokyo went through so much to set us up and host the Olympics. I think an abbreviation would just sum up the whole situation.
“But I hope we can play another round and I think it will be so exciting. I’m not sure where I’ll be today but I would like to have another chance to hopefully be on the podium. Because I don’t just play for myself, I play for my country. It’s a very different feeling.
“So I would like to play. Sometimes there are days when I think man I don’t want to play in this heat. But in this situation I would like to play. ”
Not only does Ko play for her nation and pride himself on potentially being a two-time Olympic medalist, Ko wants to get out and give her wedge game one more chance to improve.
“I was so mad at myself because I usually feel like my wedges are the stronger part of my game,” she said. “I hadn’t hit a single wedge within 9 meters all day yesterday. I just had no sense of it. I was so angry. And yes, I missed like two 3-footers, but at the same time I was trying to hit 60-foot bat with two putti, that was what got me in that position. That’s the mistake, not the putting itself. If I keep moving into the 60 foot range, I’ll emphasize the parts that I need to do to clean up.
“So I was really upset with my wedge game and I was frustrated. I didn’t want that to affect the way I am today. Fortunately, I got off to a pretty smooth start. But then I missed a 3-footer at 2 and thought: ‘Not again’. But I just stayed patient. There was so much golf ahead of me. I tried to play my heart out and I played the second nine really well today where I’ve struggled for the past few days.
“Hopefully I have a good swing in the 18 holes that we will play tomorrow.”
Ko is currently five shots behind leader Nelly Korda and two behind Indian Aditi Ashok, who is alone in second place. But Ko is always the optimist, because he knows from experience that no lead is guaranteed as long as golf is still being played.
“Minjee has proven that you can be 10 shots back and win a big championship,” she said, referring to Minjee Lee’s comeback win at the Amundi Evian Championship. “That’s the crazy thing about the Gulf. You never know until the last putt falls on the last hole. You can never give up. It doesn’t matter how many shots back you are.
“Rory Sabbatini shot under 10 on the last day of last week and became a silver medalist. I don’t think you can count yourself out of that. When you feel like you are good at golfing opportunities will come your way. And when you play from behind you know that there is only gold, silver and bronze. Maybe I’ll end up attacking Pins that I wouldn’t normally do in any other situation. It changes tactics.
“But for me I only pray to the weather gods that we can play and that I can do some kind of tactic out there. At the end of the day who knows I could fall further behind or be one of the Olympians who ended up on the podium. But I’ll do my best out there, have fun and see where that takes me at the end of Saturday. ”