March 26, 2016

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) Top-ranked Lydia Ko made three straight birdies early on the back nine Saturday in the Kia Classic and finished with a 5-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead.

Ko birdied Nos. 11-13 and closed with five straight pars to reach 14-under 202 at Aviara in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week in Rancho Mirage.

The 18-year-old New Zealander saved par with a 10-foot putt on the par-4 18th, and has played bogey-free since her second hole in the first round. She won five times last season and is coming off second-place finish last week in Phoenix in the Founders Cup.

Sung Hyun Park, Brittany Lang and second-round leader Jenny Shin were tied for second. Park had five straight birdies on Nos. 12-16, made a double bogey on par-5 17th, and closed with a birdie for a 68. Lang had a 70, making three birdies and four bogeys on the back nine. Shin shot 71.

Second-ranked Inbee Park was 10 under after a 70.

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