Golf: Kiwi Lydia Ko enters final day with share of lead at Blue Bay LPGA in China

For the second straight day, Kiwi Lydia Ko has converted an eagle from off the green to put herself into contention entering the final day of the Blue Bay LPGA in China.

After three rounds at Hainan Island, the early-season tour leader is tied atop the leaderboard with Americans Bailey Tardy and Sarah Schmelzel, carding a six-under 66 and sitting at 12 under for the tournament.

As she had during the second round, when she eagled the par-four second hole, Ko struck early, leaving her third shot on the edge of the green on the par-five third and cooly chipping in.

Lydia Ko in action at Blue Bay LPGA.
Lydia Ko in action at Blue Bay LPGA. Photo credit: Getty Images

That two-stroke swing gave her a brief share of the lead, and she spent much of the round jockeying with rivals Ruixin Liu of China and Schmelzel. Liu mustered four birdies on the front nine, but fell off the pace with back-to-back bogeys, while Schmelzel also faded after the turn in her round. 

Ko was level with Tardy, before birdying the 14th, but had already seen her opponent go one better with eagle to take outright lead, as the rest of the field fell two strokes behind.

She birdied the final hole to draw even again and will play with the American in the final group on Sunday.

Schmelzel rallied late, with three birdies between 13-17 to stay relevant, while Liu lurks two stroke back in fourth.

Ko leads the tour standings, after winning the opening Tournament of Champions, and finishing runner-up at the Drive On Championship and 34th-equal at last week's HSBC Women's World Championship.