Shanshan Feng snapped a run of 23 consecutive pars with a birdie at the 18th to reclaim the outright lead over a wave of South Korean challengers heading into the final round of the US Women's Open golf.
China's Feng broke a three-way tie with a three-foot birdie putt after missing chances from 10 feet and twice from 12 feet in the closing holes, posting a one-under 71 for a total of nine-under-par 207 at Trump International in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Amy Yang and 17-year-old amateur Hye Jin Choi were tied one stroke back, with long-hitting fellow South Korean Sung Hyun Park two further shots away.
Another three South Koreans, world No.1 So Yeon Ryu (71), Mirim Lee (67) and Jeongeun Lee (73), were another stroke back at five under.
Former champion Cristie Kerr shot 70 to stand as the leading American player at four under, a total she shared with Spain's Carlota Ciganda (72).
Feng, trying to complete a wire-to-wire victory, was frustrated by her putting until the par-five last.
"Putting didn't really work today," said Feng, winner of seven LPGA Tour events including the 2012 LPGA Championship.
"I just couldn't get the line and the speed together. And then I was like, 'let's go to Plan B.'
"Plan B ... I try to hit the ball closer to the holes, so I don't need to worry about making the putts. And 16 and 17 I hit great shots into the green but I guess they weren't close enough so I still missed them.
"Then on 18th I was like, 'let's hit them little more closer' and I hit it to three feet and finally I made a putt. That birdie made my day."
Feng was caught late in the round by Yang and Choi.
Yang, a top-four finisher in the last three Women's Opens, rolled in a 20-foot left-to-right birdie curler at the 17th, while No.2 ranked amateur Choi sank a long birdie putt at the par-three 16th.
Katherine Kirk is the best-placed Australian in a tie for 27th after her round of 74 left her at one over.