Two-time champion Amy Yang of South Korea shot a bogey free 66 to share the third round lead at the US$1.6 million LPGA Thailand with world No 7 Minjee Lee of Australia at the Siam Country Club Old Course on Saturday.
The 2015 and 2017 champion relied on her well crafted putts to generate six birdies and headed to the final round competition on 15 under-par-201.
“I had a good day. I hit a lot of solid shots and had a lot of good putts,” said the 29-year-old Yang who triumphed on this course with a total 15 under-par and 22-under-par in 2015 and 2017.
“I will be a little bit nervous (as a co-leader) tomorrow and I need to be patient out there,” added the world No 29 who will attempt to become the first player to make a hat-trick win in this tournament.
Lee, 22 from Perth, sent home a long birdie putt from off the greens to finish the round with a 67 to join the South Korean at the top of the leader’s board.
“I feel pretty solid. I've been holing a couple more putts this week than the other two weeks that I played, so that's a good sign. I have been hitting it pretty solid, so that's pretty nice, too,” said Lee who has four LPGA titles with the latest one occurring in the LPGA Volvik Championship last year.
Halfway leader Jenny Shin of South Korea was struggling to find her momentum all day until she shot a birdie on the 17th hole followed by a superb 60-yard-eagle chip for a third round 70 and a total 203.
In-form American Nelly Korda, who won two out of her last five tournaments including the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week, shot a 66 for a three round total 12 under-par-204 to sit three shots behind the lead along with first round leader Ji Eun-Hee of South Korea (70) and American Austin Ernst (69).
“I was hitting it really well. Made some solid putts. Made a long putt on 9 and then made a good up and down on 10. Kind of got the ball rolling on the back nine as well,” said the younger sister of defending champion Jessica who withdrew with forearm injury.
“She's really upset she can't be here. No, I know she's been watching on TV and she's a little jealous that I'm out here and she's home on the other side of the earth,” added the Floridian, daughter of former Austrian Open tennis champion Petr Korda.
World No 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, with five birdies against a lone bogey, carded a third round 68 for eight under-par- 208, seven behind the lead. The Thai star teed off alongside Chinese star Muni He in one of the most interesting squad of round three.
“I got hundreds of text messages yesterday saying they (friends) wanted to see her play and please tell her “I love you”. No one loves me,” said Ariya in lighthearted manner.
“She’s really lovely and nice. We had a great time out here. As for my game, I was putting so well but unfortunately I didn’t roll the balls in as many as I wanted to,” added Ariya, runner-up in 2013.
Also with a 208 was her sister Moriya who hit a 71 with four birdies against three bogeys.
“MY shots went left and right again. But I hardly had birdie chances. I hope to do better on Sunday,” said the world No 18.