Tight at the top in Phoenix

The final round of the JTBC Founder’s Cup will tee off with a pack of seven players vying for the title and overnight leader Hyo Joo Kim just two shots ahead of the nearest chaser.

Kim carded a six-under 66 in Saturday’s third round, to move to 16-under after a 65 and a 69 in the respective first and second rounds.

Trailing the South Korean on 14-under is Stacey Lewis, who carded scores of 64, 71 and 67 in the first three rounds at the Wildfire Gold Club in Phoenix, Arizona.

The current world number three says any one of the leading pack could surge ahead of Kim in Sunday’s final round.

“It’s going to be a shootout. It’s going to be what this golf course sets up for and the leaderboard this year sets up for it even more,” she told the LPGA website

“For me, I think it almost makes things easier because you have to just go out there and play and see what happens. You can’t watch one person or the people in your groups. You’ve just got to go play golf.”

Trailing Lewis by a single shot and tied for third, Americans Alison Lee and Kim Kaufman put in contrasting performances on day three.

While Lee fired nine birdies and stayed bogey-free to equal the course record of 63, Kaufman birdied four and bogeyed two for a two-under 70 but remained in contention due to her strong performances over the first two rounds.

Lee, a 20-year-old rookie, says it feels surreal to be in contention for her first title and competing with the world’s best.

“I really haven’t even thought about that yet. I’m still trying to sink in how my round went today but yeah, it’s really weird,” she said.

“Obviously since junior golf and to college and now professional golf, I’ve been slowly progressively and moving up.

“To be here and to be able to play well out on the LPGA Tour against these professional golfers, I mean, just that in itself, I feel really blessed and really great and really confident that I can compete with a lot of the girls out here.”

A group of three players are a shot back on 13-under and tied for fifth place. South Koreans Ha Na Jang and Mi Hyang Lee both shot 68, while world number one Lydia Ko carded a 69.