World No 1 Ariya Jutanugarn looked set to retain her lead at the Blue Bay LPGA in China on Saturday – until some last-minute fireworks from Gaby Lopez.
Lopez, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2016 and is still searching for her first win, trailed Jutanugarn by three shots with two holes to play in Hainan Island before a stunning hole-in-one at the 17th and a closing birdie at the par-5 18th saw her finish with a one-shot lead at nine under par.
Her six-under-par 66 was the low round of the week at the challenging Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course, an amazing effort.
Jutanugarn looked set to at least retain a share of the lead before bogeying the 18th for a 71 to complete the dramatic turnaround.
Lopez now finds herself in pole position ahead of Sunday’s final round, albeit with lots of work left to do in order to clinch her maiden LPGA victory.
Jutanugarn continued to look pretty solid on Saturday, picking up two birdies and an eagle, but three bogeys limited her gains. The Thai star will certainly fancy her chances of forcing a positive result come Sunday.
The tournament looks to be a two-horse race at this stage, with South Korean duo Sung Hyun Park and Sei Young Kim the nearest challengers at four under par, five shots off the lead and four behind Jutanugarn – although the chasing pack will certainly come into play if the top two both capitulate.
The American is now sixth in the world rankings.
The world number 89 blamed a new putter as he laboured to a closing round of 77 at the British Masters.
Rahm replaced Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings following his victory in the Memorial Tournament.
Seven years of hard work paid off in spectacular fashion for Michael Thompson at the 3M Open on Sunday.
Thompson carded birdies at the 16th and the last to secure his second PGA Tour win of his career.
Tom Lewis, the only Briton to make the cut, will start the final round eight shots off the lead.
The 23-year-old won a second European Tour title.
It was a second European Tour title for the 23-year-old.
The 29-year-old chose to miss the first six events of the PGA Tour to stay with his family in England.