Patty Tavatanakit holds the lead and is looking for a wire-to-wire victory at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International

Patty Tavatanakit continued her excellent form at Riyadh Golf Club producing a round of 69 (-3) on day three of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International Presented by PIF.

The Major champion has held the lead since the start of the tournament carding rounds of 66-70 on the first two days.

Tavatanakit made her first birdie in round three on the second hole, but she then made a bogey on the third.

However, she soon got into the groove again rolling in birdies on nine, 12 and 15 for a total of 11-under-par and to lead by three shots with one round remaining in Riyadh.

“Overall, I was pleased with the mentality out there,” said Tavatanakit. “I feel like I had a really good mindset with how the round started. It was just kind of slow. I feel like I didn’t miss-hit a shot today. But on one hole, I went over the green, I just hit it too good.

“Looking back on the last few years, now still I feel like I’m still trying to get over that, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. If anything, it just put me where I need to be right now at the present moment. I’m really grateful for all the struggles because it taught me and I grew from it. I learned a lot and I’m a better person and player for it.

“I think tomorrow, all I want to do is make the right choices each and every shot, and whatever it is that I’m going to face, I’m up for it. I know it’s not going to be easy. Just making the right choices and commit to my processes is something I’m going to do tomorrow.”

Watch highlights from the third round

Germany’s Esther Henseleit is in second place on the leaderboard on eight-under-par having fired a bogey-free round of 65 (-7).

The 25-year-old, who won the 2019 LET Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles, has improved each day after a round of 74 (+2) and 69 (-3) on the first two days.

“I played really well overall, but I hit many fairways and I just hit my irons really close,” said the two-time LET winner. “I really had a lot of short birdie putts and made pretty much all of them. I just didn’t leave much out there.

“I’m really excited. I had a really good off-season and I felt like last year, I really made some good progress in tournament golf. I’m excited to get the season going and looking forward to tomorrow to have a chance to go out there and really try to make some more birdies.

“I really liked the course, the first day was definitely much harder than the last two. The win was just crazy. Yesterday, I played really good, I just had a little hiccup on 16. Today, the wind changed, so it was a completely different golf course.

“I like this course I think it really gives you an advantage if you’re hitting good irons and that’s normally my strength, so I feel pretty confident on this course. I’m just looking forward to being in contention. Just being in the final group for the first time this year and really enjoying the round tomorrow and giving myself a chance.”

"I like major tournaments and it has the feel of a big tournament"

Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen and England’s Charley Hull are both in a tie for third place on seven-under-par.

Five-time LET winner Pedersen, who won the first edition of this tournament in 2020, produced her lowest round of the week with a bogey-free 66.

The 2020 Race to Costa del Sol winner said: “I finally had a full night’s sleep nine hours last night, the night before yesterday’s round, I only slept for three hours, so that was a bit of a struggle. I think I’m finally getting into the routine now.

“The real difference, I think was my putting I holed a couple of 30-footers today and then I just was really solid from a short distance. I struggled a little bit yesterday.

“I think they always set up the tournament really good. I always like I like major tournaments and it has the feel of a big tournament. I just like the desert apparently!”

Hull having a good week

Three-time LET winner Hull carded a round of 68 (-4) on day three which included six birdies and two bogeys as she made a Saturday move.

“It was good fun,” said Hull, who is eighth in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. “I just felt chilled out there, I played pretty well.

“I hit it pretty good. It was a shame I bogeyed 16 but I find that green so awkward. I thought I hit a pretty decent shot in there, came up short and then it wasn’t the nicest of chips, but I’m pretty happy with today.

“I just love playing golf whether it’s an event or at home, I am obsessed with golf. I love being out there. I feel it’s really good for me and I just like being the best as I can be. I’ve been working hard in this off-season, going out there, enjoying it and smashing the gym. I just love it.”

Korea’s Amy Yang and Belgium’s Manon De Roey are in a share of fifth place on six-under-par after 54 holes of competition.

Four players round out the top 10 with Japan’s Yuka Saso, Italy’s Alessandra Fanali, England’s Georgia Hall and Thailand’s Chanettee Wannasaen all on five-under.

The final round begins at 7.10 am (local time) on Sunday with the leaders teeing it up at 11.21 am (local time) in Riyadh. View the full leaderboard here.