DALY CITY, Calif. - Haru Nomura shot a 1-under 71 in cool and breezy conditions Saturday at Lake Merced to maintain a three-stroke lead in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
The 23-year-old Japanese player had three birdies and two bogeys to reach 10-under 206 with one round left. She won the Australian Women's Open in February, pulling away to beat top-ranked Lydia Ko by three strokes for her first LPGA title.
Ko was six strokes back at 4 under after a 73. The two-time defending champion will be 19 on Sunday.
''My game wasn't really up to it today,'' Ko said. ''It was pretty average. But I felt like chipping, short game-wise it was good, but I wasn't making the putts that needed to go in for birdie or those crucial par saves. ... I've just got to stay positive.''
South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi were tied for second.
Pace had a 69. She won a 2014 event in China for her lone LPGA title.
''Obviously, the conditions are going to be the same tomorrow probably, a little cooler, I think,'' Pace said. ''But just the same thing. On a course like this you have to play on the right side. You have to stay below the hole, keep it in the fairway and on the greens.''
Choi shot 71. She won twice last year and has nine LPGA victories.
''It was tough,'' Choi said. ''I think especially the greens were so firm and a lot of holes have front pins, so it's hard to stop the ball around the pin. ... I like chasing, so I feel great about this tournament and this week and about my game. I have confidence, so just keep playing aggressive.''
So Yeon Ryu was 5 under along with Brooke Henderson, Catriona Matthew and Gerina Piller. Ryu, the first-round leader after a tournament-record 63, followed a second-round 75 with a 73.
Henderson has seven straight top-10 finishes. The 18-year-old Canadian chipped in for birdie on the par-5 18th for a 69.
''I kind of mis-hit my approach shot there, but was able to come back with a nice chip-in and make the day feel a little bit better than it was,'' Henderson said. ''I'm really close and my game is close to being really good. I just have to stay patient and keep doing what I'm doing.''
The 46-year-old Matthew shot a 71, and Piller had a 72.
''It was really hard,'' Piller said. ''The pins were a lot tougher today. They put a lot of them on the front, and the course is firming up again. Yesterday it was pretty soft with the rains. But front pins make it pretty difficult to get it close. And the wind, you've got to accommodate for the wind, accommodate for the cold, so it just makes it a tough day.''
Minjee Lee also was 4 under after a 74. The 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior champion at Lake Merced, the Australian won last week in Hawaii for her second LPGA title.