Nelly Korda still on top at Drive On Championship

Nelly Korda carded a 3-under 68 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard after three rounds of action at the LPGA Drive on Championship in Bradenton, Fla.

Korda entered the day with a two-stroke lead before recording three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys at Bradenton Country Club to move to 13-under 200. She now holds a four-shot edge over Megan Khang (66 on Saturday), Japan’s Ayaka Furue (69) and Lydia Ko of New Zealand (69), who are all tied for second at 9-under 204.

It was rough in the early going for Korda, who posted back-to-back bogeys at the par-3 seventh and the par-5 eighth.

But those ended up being Korda’s only blemishes, and she surged late, going eagle-birdie at Nos. 17-18 to close her round.

“I birdied the par-5 (sixth) and then unfortunately snap hooked my next two tee shots, which ended up both of them being bogeys,” Korda said. “And then just had a fresh attitude coming into the back nine. I mean, it’s not how you start it’s how you finish. Hopefully I can lead that into (Sunday).”

Korda, a Bradenton native, gave caddie Jason McDede credit for keeping her composed during the rough patch on the front nine.

“It’s nice to have a really positive teammate like I do in Jason,” Korda said. “He always makes sure I keep my head up and never doubt myself pretty much, to tell myself that I can make any hole an opportunity for birdie.”

With Saturday’s performance, the 25-year-old Korda is 18 holes away from her first victory on the LPGA Tour since November of 2022, when she won the Pelican Women’s Championship.

Just one stroke behind Khang, Furue and Ko are China’s Xiyu Lin (70), South Korean Sei Young Kim (69), Robyn Choi of Australia (66) and Auston Kim, who secured low-round honors on Saturday with a 7-under 64 to skyrocket 35 spots on the leaderboard.

Kim collected three birdies and an eagle over her final five holes. She finished with six birdies for her round, logging just one bogey — at the par-3 ninth.

“It was a bit of a blur. I was just playing golf. I honestly can’t remember what my scorecard looks like,” Kim said. “I made bogey on 9 unfortunately, I was an unfortunate three-putt; missed a really short one. But that helped me lock in a little bit more, provide a little bit extra focus.

“Once I made the turn, I felt like I was moving at really good pace, really good tempo.”

South Korea’s So Mi Lee, who was in second after the second round on Friday, limped to a 5-over 76 on Saturday to drop into a tie for 22nd.

Last year’s winner, Celine Boutier of France, is also in a tie for 22nd following a 1-over 72.