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LPGA: Gulbis shoots 65, ties for lead

The SportsXchange

NAPLES, Fla. -- Natalie Gulbis posted a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday, her best score of the season by three strokes, and tied for the lead with Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand and Gerina Piller heading into the final round of the CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon Golf Club.

Gulbis, whose only top-10 finish of the season was a tie for ninth in the Women's British Open, made bogey on the first hole and then reeled off six birdies in the next eight holes.

"I haven't been playing well, so with three weeks off I was at home (in Las Vegas) working with Butch (Harmon)," said Gulbis, whose only LPGA victory came in the 2007 Evian Masters.

"When you're not playing well, it's nice to get a few weeks off to work on fundamentals. ... I love being in contention. It's fun, it's why we're out here. I love to compete."

Piller and Pornanong, who have never won on the LPGA Tour, both recorded bogey-free rounds of 67.

Stacy Lewis holed her second shot with a five iron from 175 yards for an eagle on No. 2 en route to a 63, best score of the day, and was one stroke back in a tie for fourth.

Lexi Thompson and Shanshan Feng of China both had 67s to finish in that tie for fourth along with Sandra Gal of Germany, who led the first two days but struggled to a 74 in round three as she battled back spasms.

"When I got to 5-under, I looked at the leaderboard and thought If I could make a few more, I could be right up there," said Lewis, who made four birdies in a row and six in a span of seven holes through No. 17.

"Then, everything started going in. I knew I had to have a good score to have a chance to win tomorrow. I just have to go out there and make it happen."

Inbee Park of South Korea, No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, carded a 69 and was tied for ninth.

Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old phenom from New Zealand who won four pro tournaments as an amateur, shot 72 and was tied for 25th in her first event as a pro.
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