World No. 1 Lydia Ko (67) takes 3-shot lead at Kia Classic

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 3-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.

“I’d rather be a couple shots ahead than a couple shots behind,” Ko said. “But the girls are playing great golf. The course is tough, but still, the scores are out there. So I’ve just got to focus on my game. Anything can happen.”

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Lauren von Bernuth