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Nasa Hataoka falls five shots off pace after losing grip on lead

Kyodo, AP

Nasa Hataoka surrendered the lead after carding a 2-over-par 74 to drop five shots off the pace after the third round of the LPGA Volvik Championship on Saturday.

Hataoka, who had a one-shot lead after Friday’s second round, carded five bogeys and just three birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club to land in a four-way tie for 15th at at 7-under.

Australia’s Minjee Lee sits atop the leaderboard at 12-under after shooting a 4-under 68.

“My shooting got messed up when I missed a short putt on No. 3, and I couldn’t play the way I thought,” Hataoka said. “I want to putt well to finish under in the final round.”

Ayako Uehara remained four strokes behind in a four-way tie for 11th at 8-under, after carding five birdies and two bogeys for a 3-under 69.

Lee capped a bogey-free third round with a birdie on No. 18 to get to 12 under, and now the Australian standout will try to celebrate her birthday with her first victory of the year. She turned 22 on Sunday.

“It was pretty solid today,” Lee said. “I didn’t make any bogeys. Just four birdies on the card. Yeah, that’s pretty good.”

Lewis, who is playing five months pregnant, birdied five of the last six holes for a 67. She finished the day at 10 under along with Kim (67), who birdied six of the first eight holes and shot a 31 on the front nine.

Jodi Ewart Shadoff (69) and Lindy Duncan (69) were also at 10 under, and five more players were at 9 under, setting the stage for what could be a wild final round.

“This golf course, you can shoot a number, you can shoot 6 or 7 under, but you can also play pretty good and shoot even par,” Lewis said. “So you’ve just got to get runs like I did there at the end of the day and just keep hanging around and post a number and see what happens. That’s what wins these things.”

Kim In-kyung began her round with a flurry of birdies, but couldn’t maintain her torrid early pace. She played the back nine in even par. Lewis, meanwhile, was having a quiet round until her impressive stretch toward the end.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinner time right now, but other than that I feel pretty good,” she said after the round.

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