Lydia the Ko-leader at Clearwater
Last updated: 9th February 2013
It was a moment that summed up Lydia Ko's brilliance.
The most famous 15-year-old in New Zealand hit her eagle putt from the fringe of the green on the par-five 14th at the Clearwater Golf Club and watched.
The 12m putt down and across the slope had the perfect pace, hit the flag and found the bottom of the cup. It was met by raucous applause from the biggest gallery on course.
The eagle catapulted the World No.1 amateur into the lead and was the defining moment of round two of the ISPS Handa NZ Women's Open hosted by Christchurch.
"It was a turning point for me," said Ko, who was the only Kiwi to make the two-round cut.
"I wanted a couple of birdies before that but they just didn't go in the hole. But then you know that 12m putt it just drained in and it kind of made up for today and the first round as well."
From there she never looked back. The wonder-teen will begin the final round in a share of the lead with Korean Seon Woo Bae, who climbed 33 places with a remarkable eight-under-par 64 that broke the course record.
Italian Giulia Sergas (68) climbed to third, one shot off the pace, and overnight leader Australian Nikki Campbell (71) dropped to fourth place a further shot back.
Ko, who began the day in a share of fourth place, made birdie on the par-three 16th and then added another on the par-five second from six feet to get to six under for the tournament.
Her flawless ball striking continued. The only display of any weakness was when she flubbed a chip on the par 5 fifth. It didn't matter as she made a 15 foot save for par in nonchalant fashion.
"I was happy with that save. I got a really bad lie with the chip and I didn't know where that ball was going to go. I wasn't that happy about that hole even though I made the par."
The birdies continued on the following hole, the par-four sixth, and then she dropped her first shot of the day with a three-putt bogey on the par-four seventh.
"(It) wasn't because I hit it badly it was a short putt mistake so it is not something serious. I am hitting the ball well.
"I am pretty happy. I had kind of a struggle the last three holes but I made par on the last two so that was ok. I don't think that there was something huge to complain about and I made an eagle so it was pretty good."
She parred her way in finish on six under and a chance of becoming the first Kiwi to win the event. Ko knows there will be nerves standing on the first tee in the final group tomorrow.
"[The nerves] will be there tomorrow but I just have to control my nerves and that is what happens every time. I have been playing pretty good so hopefully I can play like I have the last two days. It was nice to see a lot of me out there today. I definitely felt their support."
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