(Reuters) - American Gerina Piller produced another ball-striking clinic in the third round at the Texas Shootout on Saturday to earn a two-shot lead and put herself in position for her first LPGA title. The world number 20, in her sixth LPGA season, hit 18 greens in regulation for the second straight day, en route to a bogey-free four-under-par 67 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.
Piller, winless in 123 career LPGA starts, has top-six finishes in her past three starts, including a tie for third in San Francisco last Sunday.
She will start the final round on Sunday at 14-under 199, with South Koreans Amy Yang (65) and Hur Mi-jung (66) her closest pursuers on 12-under.
After rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole for her fourth birdie of the round, Piller finished with eight pars. She has hit 52 of 54 greens in regulation this week and has not made a bogey since her opening hole on Thursday.
She thought her score on Saturday could have been better, but was nonetheless pleased with her position.
“Definitely a lot of confidence going into tomorrow,” the 31-year-old local resident told reporters.
“I felt like I played well, it just wasn’t good enough. There’s always a coulda, shoulda, woulda, but that’s one of those things you’ve just got to go out and hit fairways and hit greens and get it close and make putts.” Piller began the third round with a one-shot lead over South Korean Ji Eun-hee, who carded 71 to drop back into a tie for sixth.
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both