LPGA: Natalie Gulbis climbs into a three-way tie for top spot at Titleholders tournament
Last Updated: 24/11/13 6:36am
Natalie Gulbis: 65 moves American star into a share of the lead
Natalie Gulbis moved into a three-way tie for the lead after three rounds of the LPGA CME Group Titleholders in Florida.
Gulbis bounced back from a bogey at the first and carded eight birdies in a fine round of 65 to join Gerina Piller and Pornanong Phatlum at the top of the leaderboard.
The portents were not good for Gulbis when she hooked a five-iron into the water on the par-five first, leading to an ugly six, but she soon regained her composure and rattled off three straight birdies from the third.
Third round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-11 N Gulbis
-11 G Piller
-11 P Phatlum (Tha)
-9 S Lewis
-9 S Feng (Chn)
-9 L Thompson
-9 S Gal (Ger)
-8 M Wie
Further strokes were picked up at the eighth and ninth and three more birdies on the back nine meant Gulbis finished the day on 11-under.
Impressive Solheim Cup rookie Piller and Thailand star Phatlum were tied for third going into the day and carded matching rounds of five-under 67, neither dropping a shot.
But round of the day came from Women's Open champion Stacy Lewis, who stormed through the field with a nine-under 63 that included eight birdies and an eagle two at the par-four third.
That round all but wraps up the Vare Trophy for Lewis, the award given to the player with the lowest scoring average over the season.
She sits in a tie for fourth place with Shanshan Feng of China, American phenom Lexi Thompson and Germany's Sandra Gal, who led the tournament at halfway.
Gal got off to a nightmare start, dropping three shots in her first four holes, and she was only able to get one of those back over the rest of the round, but the quartet are still only two strokes behind the three leaders.
Michelle Wie moved into eighth place with a fine six-under par 66 but there was no improvement from teenage star Lydia Ko, who carded a level-par 72 to lie nine shots off the pace in a tie for 25th.