American Lexi Thompson surged to the top of the leaderboard after the third round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, carding a superb five-under-par 66 as most of the other players struggled with tough pin positions at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
The big-hitting 18-year-old lies on 17-under-par for the tournament and will take a three-shot lead over Korea’s Lee Ilhee into the final round.
“I had a good practice session before my round, so I was pretty confident, All I’m really focusing on is committing to every shot and being positive,” said Thompson, nicknamed ‘Tippy Toes’ by one of the TV commentators due to her powerful swing which sees her on her toes at impact.
“The pin positions were definitely tough today, closer to the edges. You just have to play smart when they tuck pins like that,” added Thompson, who has not won on the LPGA Tour since claiming her maiden title at age 16 in the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic.
Lee had led the tournament for the first two days with some superb putting but her putter went cold and a third round 70 saw her surrendering pole position. She is bidding to become the fourth successive Korean winner of the title joining compatriots Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Jimin Kang.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and China’s Shanshan Feng are in third position on 11-under-par after carding 67 and 70 respectively at KLGCC’s East Course.
Amateur Michelle Koh meanwhile remained on course to finish as best Malaysian, shooting a 74 to finish the day in 62nd place on seven-over-par.
After two days of sunny weather, the third round saw a one-hour suspension from 11am due to lightning activity. The threat passed and play resumed at noon with no further interruptions.