KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum made six birdies on the front nine on her way to a 6-under 65 Saturday that gave her a three-shot lead after the third round of the LPGA Malaysia tournament.
Pornanong closed in on her first LPGA victory as she moved to 14-under 199 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Japan's Ayako Uehara had three consecutive birdies starting at the 12th hole in a round of 69 to sit alone in second place. Four players were tied for third a stroke further back, including second-round leader So Yeon Ryu, who had double bogeys at both the 17th and 18th to give up her lead.
Her South Korean compatriot Chella Choi was also at 10 under after a 68 which included a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 14th hole. They were joined by China's Shanshan Feng (69) and 17-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko (70), who can take over the No. 1 ranking if she wins on Sunday and the currently top-ranked Stacy Lewis finishes tied for 12th or worse.
Lewis was at 5 under, tied for 20th, after shooting a 72 which included a double bogey at the par-3 seventh.
Pornanong made the turn in 29 - the first time she's gone under 30 at the mid-point of a round - but had a more routine back nine with two birdies balanced out by two bogeys.
''The front nine was amazing,'' the 25-year-old Thai player said. ''Like I make everything. Back nine I just feel a little bit nervous.''
Ariya Jutanugarn had the round of day with a 64 that included nine birdies. She was five shots off the lead as she chases an LPGA card for next season. Ariya and Pornanong are aiming to become the first Thai players to win on the tour.