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Defending champ Ko only 3 back at Swinging Skirts

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DALY CITY, Calif. – Lydia Ko moved just three shots back in her quest to successfully defend her title at the Swinging Skirts Classic.

Ko fought her way to a 1-under-par 71 Saturday at Lake Merced Golf Club, leaving her three shots behind Brooke Henderson, who has taken over as the world’s best 17-year-old since Ko turned 18 on Friday.

“Obviously, I would love to be a little closer, but it was tough out there,” said Ko, who is ranked No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. “Even when you've got 2-footer, you're still thinking about it because of the wind. I just need to make a couple birdies tomorrow and give myself a good chance.”

Ko is seeking her 11th worldwide title, her third this year. She won the Women’s Australian Open and the Ladies European Tour’s New Zealand Women’s Open in back-to-back weeks earlier this year.

In Sunday’s final round, Ko will be grouped with Stacy Lewis and Shanshan Feng. When Ko won the Swinging Skirts last year, she was paired with Lewis all four rounds.

Ko said she celebrated her 18th birthday Friday night over a quiet dinner in San Francisco at a popular Korean barbecue restaurant. Fellow LPGA pros Danielle Kang and Jane Park joined Ko along with her family.