PHOENIX – Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko birdied two of the final three holes Saturday morning to move into contention again at the JTBC Founders Cup.
Ko closed out a 3-under-par 69 after returning to finish off the suspended second round, moving her two shots behind the leader, Kim Kaufman, who birdied two of her final four holes to post a 67.
Kaufman is at 11-under 133 halfway through the event at Marriott’s Wildfire Golf Club, a shot ahead of Hyo Joo Kim (69).
Ko is at 9 under overall along with Stacy Lewis (71), Sei Young Kim (66), Ariya Jutanugarn (66) and Austin Ernst (67).
Kaufman, 23, is a second-year LPGA pro seeking her first title. Her best finish is a tie for fourth at last year’s North Texas Shootout. She will tee it up in the third round in an all Kim grouping. She’s scheduled to go off at 4:50 p.m. ET with Hyo Joo Kim, who won the Evian Championship last year and is ranked No. 8 in the world rankings, and Sei Young Kim, who won the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic last month and is No. 22 in the world.
Ko, 17, is seeking her third worldwide title in her last four starts and her seventh LPGA title overall.
Michelle Wie made the cut on the number holing a 30-foot birdie at the last hole Saturday morning. She birdied two of the last three holes. Eighty-three players made the cut at 2-under.
The tournament was backed up Thursday with the first tee times delayed four hours due to rain. That caused the first and second rounds to be suspended due to darkness.