RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Japan’s Chie Arimura put together a 1-under 71 Saturday to move up to a share of sixth place alongside compatriot Mika Miyazato going into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Arimura made three birdies against a pair of bogeys while Miyazato carded a 70 to also reach 4-under 212 in the first major of the year at Mission Hills Country Club.
Defending champion Yani Tseng stayed on course to make it back-to-back titles, firing a 6-under 66 in the third round to move into pole position at 12-under par, two shots ahead of overnight leader Stacy Lewis of the United States.
“I played pretty aggressive because I wanted to get over to catch Stacy,” Tseng said. “I love this course because you’re not hitting driver every hole. You have to be smart.”
The talkative 22-year-old from Taiwan also had the backing of about 300 boisterous fans from nearby Beaumont, Calif., where Tseng and her mother lived for about three years.
Arimura, who flirted with her first U.S. LPGA Tour victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions in late February, was disappointed not to have made up more ground on the leaderboard.
“I couldn’t make the most of my chances,” said Arimura, who twice rebounded from bogeys to make birdies on Nos. 4 and 10 and added another shot on the 18th.
“The top players are improving their scores and it is a bit irritating that I can’t significantly improve mine. I’ll just have to go all out for an explosive score tomorrow,” she said.
Miyazato, meanwhile, was more than pleased with her round of three birdies against a lone bogey on the 17th.
“I felt my shots had an edge to them and to be able to make those shots on a big stage like this gives me confidence,” said Miyazato. “Hopefully I can play like this tomorrow.”
Former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato and Momoko Ueda were in 36th at 3 over after both had rounds of 73. Shiho Oyama and Yukari Baba were at 8 over and 12 over respectively.