Golf: Lydia Ko stays in touch with leaders after improved third round at Mediheal Championship

Lydia Ko has found her groove at the LPGA's Mediheal Championship in California with a third round 70 to rise up to 11th on the leaderboard. 

Beginning the round at two-under five shots off the lead on a foggy day in California, Ko started with four straight pars before picking up her first birdie of the day at the par-five fifth.

The Kiwi finished her front nine with four straight pars to make the turn at three-under for the tournament. 

Ko started the back nine on moving day strongly. After a par at 10, she recorded back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12 to move to five under just three shots off the lead. 

After a par at 13, Ko's inconsistent form she'd shown over the course of the tournament came back to bite her with a colourful three hole swing. 

She dropped her first shot of the day with a bogey at the par-four 14th before immediately bouncing back with her fourth birdie of the day at 15. 

But she undid her good work on the previous hole with another bogey at the par-four 16th to drop back to four-under. 

The world No.11 closed out her round with back-to-back pars to record her second straight round of two-under 70 to be four-under for the tournament, five-shots off the lead. 

The Kiwi was consistent off the tee making 10 of her 14 fairways, but her iron play wasn't her best as she only made 13 out of 18 greens in regulation. 

Ko sits in a six-way tie for 11th alongside South African Ashleigh Buhai, Americans Lucy Li and Yealimi Noh, Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit and Ireland's Leona Maguire.

"Yeah, I felt like overall I played pretty solid today," Ko says. "I got a few loose ones out there, but at the end of the day I feel like no matter what round you have you feel like you could have done better.

"I think even though the wind has been a little bit calmer than I would've expected, the course itself is pretty tricky.

"I think coming off a long week like last week probably players are very tired, so there is a bit of fatigue in there.

"I've just got to go out there and play my own game tomorrow and see what happens. Obviously a lot of golf is to be played by the leaders. Hopefully I'll still be in reaching distance and have a fun one tomorrow."

Chinese Taipei's Min Lee leads the tournament after a third round four-under 68 to sit at nine-under two shots clear of Finland's Matilda Castren and American Lauren Kim.

Ko will be looking for her second Mediheal Championship after claiming the inaugural title back in 2018.