Three rounds of 72 for Maguire as Lydia Ko edges clear

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Leona Maguire in action on day two (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

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Leona Maguire carded her third successive round of 72 to remain at level-par heading into the final round of the Tournament of Champions event in Florida.

Maguire remains in a share of 23rd place in the 35-player field, twelve shots shy of New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.

The Cavan star was two-over with two holes left of her third round but she finished with a flourish as two closing birdies lifted her back to level-par for the championship.

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Meanwhile, Ko is 18 holes away from a potential win in her own backyard. After Saturday at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the Lake Nona resident grabbed hold of the solo lead heading into Sunday at -12 after a bogey-free 4-under 68.

She’s on the precipice of earning her 20th career LPGA Tour victory, which would make the 15th player in Tour history to win at least 20 titles. The 26-year-old started the day tied with Ayaka Furue at the top of the leaderboard, but slowly pulled away after two birdies on Nos. 8 and 9. She added two more on the par-5 11th with her last of the day on 14 to round out her two-stroke lead.

“I played solid these past few days. It’s just great to kind of feel these nerves and excitement. I think because I am at home in ways maybe the nerves are a little less than if I was somewhere else. So great to see familiar faces and, yeah, I’m excited for tomorrow,” said Ko.

“I watched Mardy’s (Fish) documentary yesterday so I don’t know if I should watch another documentary tonight. My mom is here and I haven’t seen my husband in a while, so he’s going to be here. We’re going to have dinner together at the house,” said Ko. “Have mom’s home cooking and get physio as usual. Really nothing that different.”

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