Shanshan Feng made her first birdie of the day on the 18th hole and with it retained the lead after three rounds of the US Women’s Open in New Jersey.
Feng, who held a two shot halfway lead, parred the first 17 holes at Trump National in Bedminster.
The 27-year-old from China then picked up a shot at the par-five closing hole to post a one under par 71 and reach nine under for the week.
She had earlier been caught by Korean pair Amy Yang (70) and Hye Jin Choi (70) - with the latter in contention to become the first amateur to land a major for 50 years.
The 17-year-old Choi bogeyed the first but fought back with gains at the eighth, 11th and 16th.
Yang’s start was even worse — after birdieing the first she bogeyed the second and ran up a six on the par-four third — but then produced four further unanswered birdies.
Another Korean, Sung Hyun Park, shot a five-under 67 to move into fourth on six under for the week, but England's Charley Hull dropped to 18th and is eight shots off the pace following a one-over 73.
“I guess finally on the 18th I hit it close enough (to make a birdie) and give the fans some excitement,” Feng said.
“Coming to this week, I didn’t have any expectation at all. I just wanted to bring out my A game.
“I think I did really well for the first three days, and then I’m going to stick to my game plan tomorrow. I just focus on my own game and let’s see what happens.”