MELBOURNE — Ariya Jutanugarn is one round away from becoming the first Thai to win a tournament on the biggest stage in women's golf.
The 19-year-old rookie is tied for first place with world No 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand after three rounds of the women's Australian Open, the third event on this year's LPGA Tour.
Both Ariya and Ko on Saturday shot 72, one under par, for a three-day total of 212, seven under. Amy Yang of South Korea is one shot back at 213.
Ranked 60th in the world, Ariya has earned $131,494 so far in her rookie year on the LPGA Tour, for which she qualified in December.
She previously played on the Ladies European Tour where she won the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in 2013.
Ariya also came close to becoming the first Thai to win an LPGA Tour event at the 2013 Honda LPGA Thailand tournament, where she was a wild-card entrant. Buoyed by a hole-in-one, she built a two-stroke lead before a triple bogey on the 72nd hole cost her the title to South Korean star Inbee Park.
Both Ariya and Park will be in the field when this year's Honda LPGA Thailand tournament tees off on Thursday at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya.
Ariya, who finished runner-up at the Bahamas Classic two weeks ago, has never finished worse than 11th in her seven previous LPGA Tour starts.