Patty sitting pretty in Pattaya

Patty sitting pretty in Pattaya

Star holds three-shot lead ahead of LPGA Thailand final day

In driving seat: Patty Tavatanakit watches her shot during the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024.
In driving seat: Patty Tavatanakit watches her shot during the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024.

Chon Buri: Home favourite Patty Tavatanakit produced a masterclass on 'moving day' to seize control of the Honda LPGA Thailand 2024.

Bidding to become only the second Thai winner in the tournament's 17-year history, Patty fired a third round six-under-par 66 at the Siam Country Club's Old Course.

With a 54-hole aggregate of 16-under 200, the 24-year-old will take a three-stroke advantage into Sunday's final round from Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom, who eagled the 18th for a round of 69.

A further shot back in third are Koreans Choi Hye-Jin and Kim Hyo-Joo and Denmark's Emily Pedersen. Choi and Pedersen both carded 65s, the best score of another hot and humid day marked by slick greens and swirling winds on the back nine.

In joint sixth place on 205 are Canadian Brooke Henderson, Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela, Korean Kim Sei-Young and Thais Ariya Jutanugarn and teenage amateur Suvichaya Vinijchaitham.

Despite her lead, Patty will be taking nothing for granted as she attempts to emulate the victory here of Ariya in 2021, when she herself tied for third.

Patty, who achieved her maiden Ladies European Tour (LET) victory last Sunday at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, said: "I'm really proud of my performance today. It's getting very tiring, exhausting in the heat. I'm just going to conserve my energy and take on the challenge tomorrow."

In a brilliant start to her round on Saturday -- known as moving day -- Patty thrilled the thronging galleries with a front nine of six-under 30 with birdies at the first, second, fifth and sixth and an eagle-three at the seventh.

The going got a little harder on the back nine which she covered in even-par 36, her solitary bogey at 11 after failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker offset by a birdie at the par-four 15th where she drove through the green.

Her pursuers will know that final-day fireworks are possible over the Old Course, where Lilia Vu carded a closing 64 last year to seal a come-from-behind triumph.

Sagstrom, joint second-round leader with Patty and Kim Sei-Young, said: "Patty is playing beautifully -- hitting the ball lovely and putting even better. She left a few putts short today and could have gone really low.

"To have a chance tomorrow, you have to play good golf. You don't really do that by comparing yourself to somebody else or trying to react on their games. All I need to do is get in my own zone and out of my own way."

Battling back after a disappointing opening 72, Ariya continued her quest for a second Honda LPGA Thailand crown with a four-under 68.

"My first round was a bit hard because I kind of hit everywhere. After that, I feel like there's no expectations. When I have no expectations, I start to play better," said Ariya, who has been impressed by the performances of her compatriots this week, among them 17-year-old Suvichaya.

The teenager, who earned her starting spot here by winning the national qualifier last month, once more rose to the occasion on day three, with a 67, highlighted by an eagle-three at the first hole.

"On the first day I didn't expect that much. But after round three I'm like: 'Wow, this is amazing. How can I do it?' I was looking at leaderboards and was so excited to see my name," said Suvichaya.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself as I'm still an amateur. Just playing this tournament means so much to me. Of course, I want to win, but I don't want to put the pressure on myself."

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