XIAMEN, China, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Lee Min put herself in position to win the 12th Women's China Open on Saturday when the Chinese Taipei veteran carded a bogey-free five-under 67 to open up a two shot lead after three rounds in Fujian province.
On day when half-way leader Liu Yiyi collapsed to a three-over 75 to fall three shots off the pace, the 23-year-old Lee came from five strokes back at the start of her round to get to nine-under 207 at the RMB2.1 million national championship presented by World Golf Series.
US LPGA Tour regular Lin Xiyu was equal second following a 70 over Orient Xiamen, tied with Chinese compatriot Liu Yan (70). Thailand's Khanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (71) was equal fourth with overnight leader Liu Yiyi who had a seven stroke lead in the first round after carding a record-setting 11-under 61.
Lee, who began and ended her US LPGA Tour year with conditional status, said she felt "pretty relaxed today" and was unaware that she was moving up the leaderboard as others around her faltered.
"I was just trying to see what I can do, how many birdies I can get and how well I can do. I didn't know that (I was leading ) until I am on the green on the 18th. I was looking for the leaderboard to see where I am and I saw my name and I thought 'Man, I got to make this putt'," she said.
"(Tomorrow) I am just going to try my best, try to play my own game, not try to change anything to see what I can do."
Liu Yan, who has twice won the US Women's Open sectional qualifier for China but has yet to win on the China LPGA Tour, stayed within striking distance when she sank a 15-foot putt for birdie on the last hole.
"My tee shots weren't good and I hit just six fairways, but my approach shots were good," said the 20-year-old Fujian native who lives 20 minutes drive from the golf course.
"The chance (to win) is there for those who prepare themselves well. I expect my first pro win on Sunday. But there are many good players in the mix. I will go with the flow."
Liu Yiyi had a two shot lead starting the day and got to 11-under after picking up two birdies over the first four holes. The back nine proved her downfall when she made five three-putts over the last six holes resulting in five bogeys.
"I had a low score the first day but I feel not that confident (now) and sometimes a little bit nervous too," said the 17-year-old from Shaanxi.
"Now I need to have more confidence in my one-yard putts and tomorrow will be good."
Yin Ruoning kept her standing as the top amateur as the Shanghai-based 16-year-old carded a 73 to sit five shots back in equal seventh. (Zheng Qing)