DALY CITY, Calif. » Stacy Lewis matched playing partner Lydia Ko with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 and added another on the 17th to take a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
Lewis and the 17-year-old Ko first played together two years ago, developing an on-course friendship featuring fist bumps and lots of chatter.
"We’ve played a lot of golf together," said Lewis, 12 years older than her counterpart. "I was impressed with her then. I think the best part of her game is the maturity."
The third-ranked Lewis and fourth-ranked Ko each shot 4-under 68 at Lake Merced. Winless since the Women’s British Open in August, Lewis had a 10-under 206 total.
Ko won the Canadian Women’s Open as an amateur the past two years and took the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December in Thailand in her second start as a professional. She has five victories in pro events.
Lewis and Ko first played each other in the final round of the 2012 Canadian Open, when the then-15-year-old became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history.
"We both play fast and we got into a good rhythm," said Lewis, who has five runner-up finishes since her victory at St. Andrews. "It’s nice to play with someone who is playing well. I think it made both of us elevate our game."
Lewis matched shots with Ko, who celebrated her birthday Thursday, throughout the day to retain her edge.
"It’s fun watching Stacy play," Ko said. "She does make me feel like I have to play better. I always knew she was good. Her rankings and scores show that. It’s really good for me, as a rookie, to play with a player like Stacy. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn from another great player."
Jenny Shin was four strokes back at 6 under. She also shot 68.
Michelle Wie, the winner last week in Hawaii, was tied for 13th at 1 under after a 71.
"I think I was just a little tired from last week," Wie said. "So many emotions, celebrating, and traveling back here. I got some good rest."
Noh grabs Zurich lead
AVONDALE, La. » Seung-Yul Noh became the first player to complete 54 holes at the TPC Louisiana without a bogey and strung together three birdies late in his round to surge two strokes ahead of Keegan Bradley atop the Zurich Classic leaderboard.
Noh shot a 7-under 65 to reach 18-under 198.
Bradley, who began the day tied for seventh at 9 under, pulled into a tie with Noh for first on No. 15 with his seventh birdie of the day. Then, Noh, who was tied for third at 11 under after two rounds, made birdie putts of 13 feet on 14 and 10 feet on 15 before hitting a 112-yard approach shot to a foot for another birdie, bringing him to 18 under.
Bradley also shot 65.
Robert Streb was third, three shots back after a 68.
Ben Martin, who had a three-shot lead after two rounds, shot a 73 to drop into a tie for fourth with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda at 14 under.
Levy out in front by three
SHENZHEN, China » France’s Alexander Levy followed his career-best 62 with a 2-under 70 in pelting rain and gusting wind to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the China Open.
Levy had a 16-under 200 total at Genzon Golf Club.
Spain’s Alvaro Quiros was second after a 68.