Patty Tavatanakit shot a third-round 2-under 70 and will enter Sunday’s finale of the Honda LPGA Thailand with a one-stroke lead.
The reigning ANA major champion overcame a 1-over front nine with a late flurry of birdies on Nos. 14, 15, and 18 to reach 18-under par.
“I think it really did get my momentum going in the back nine,” said Tavatanakit, who is seeking to become the first native Thai to win the Honda LPGA Thailand.
“I really think I was a little bit confused. I was multitasking. I was trying to eat on the 10th hole and I was just not one-hundred-percent today with my energy level.
“But if anything, it just goes to show you don’t have to be one-hundred-percent perfect to shoot under par.”
In addition to seeking history as the first native daughter to win the LPGA’s Thailand event, Tavatanakit is also aiming to become the season’s first multiple winner.
One off the pace was another home favorite in Atthaya Thitikul, who herself overcame a slow start: after making two bogeys in her first three holes, the 18-year old rookie bounced back with six birdies the rest of the way to post 68 and join Caroline Masson on 17 under.
Thitikul cited her patience as the key to her Saturday round.
“The key is to be patient, be patient, and then just put yourself in a good position, like is a safe position and like to have a chance to make a birdie,” said Thitikul, who is playing on a sponsor invite, but could accept win LPGA membership with a win on Sunday.
“Everyone wants to win tomorrow, of course I want to win as well. But at the same time, I just take tomorrow as a learning opportunity.
“You know, like just do the best that I can. If I playing good, it’s good.”
Masson, meanwhile, secured a share of the silver with a 67, highlighted by a closing hat trick of birdies on Nos. 16, 17, and 18.
Gaby Lopez and Lydia Ko carded matching 67s to sit T4 on 16 under, one clear of Hannah Green who was solo six after a low-round 64.
Angel Yin posted a second straight round of 65 to share seventh on 14 under, alongside Chella Choi who also signed for a 65.
One further back was Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn, who was solo ninth on 13 under following a third-round 69.
Defending champion Amy Yang (70) was among a five players tied for 10th on 12 under.
2021 Honda LPGA Thailand
Top-5 Leaders: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Patty Tavatanakit -18 (-2)
2. Atthaya Thitikul -17 (-4)
2. Caroline Masson -17 (-5)
4. Gaby Lopez -16 (-5)
4. Lydia Ko -16 (-5)
Material from the LPGA Tour Communications was used to compile this report.