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Title defence slipping away for Ko

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/04/2017
Lydia Ko © Getty Lydia Ko

A safe but unspectacular third round looks to have scuppered Lydia Ko's hopes of defending her title at year's first major tournament.

World No.1 Ko improved one place to 11th with a round to play at the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage in California.

However, she hasn't shown the x-factor to suggest she can make up an eight stroke deficit on Sunday.

Her one-under 71 followed two rounds of 70, with the 19-year-old Kiwi once again limiting her bogey count to only one - on the opening hole.

However, she followed that with just two birdies on Saturday, letting her chief rivals pull well clear of her five-under tally.

Veteran Lexi Thompson leads on 13-under following successive rounds of 67, the American sitting two strokes clear of another two-time major winner, Norway's Suzann Pettersen.

A group of four on 10-under features two powerhouse Koreans - world No.3 So Yeon Ryu and former world No.1 Inbee Park.

Second-ranked Thai Ariya Jutanugarn is seventh on eight-under and still a chance to snatch the world No.1 ranking off Ko if she can storm to victory on Sunday.

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