Carlsbad, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mirim Lee fired a 6-under 66 in the third round Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard after 54 holes of the Kia Classic.
Lee, who has been atop the leaderboard after each of the first three rounds, stands at 16-under-par 200. She will go for her third tour win on Sunday.
Alison Lee, who is no relation to Mirim, also fired a 66 at Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club to remain one stroke off the lead at minus-15.
Cristie Kerr, who was one of eight different players that had a piece of the lead during the third round, posted her second straight 68. She shares third place at 13-under-par 203 with Sakura Yokomine (67).
Se Ri Pak matched the course record with her 64. She soared into a tie for fifth place at minus-12. She was joined there by Paula Creamer (66), Jennifer Song (66) and world No. 1 Lydia Ko (67). Ko's 67 was her 27th straight under- par round.
Morgan Pressel, who shared the second-round lead with Mirim Lee after firing a 64 on Friday, managed an even-par 72 and fell into a tie for 10th at 10-under- par 206.
Mirim Lee got off to a slow start. She opened with three pars in a row before dropping a shot at the fourth. Lee bounced back with a birdie at the fifth.
After a par at the sixth, Lee birdied No. 7 to move to 11-under. She started to make her move around the turn.
Lee grabbed a share of the lead thanks to back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11. She stuffed her tee shot at the par-3 14th within a foot and kicked that in for birdie and the lead at minus-14.
The two-time winner last year on the LPGA Tour converted consecutive birdies for the third round in a row at 16 and 17. Lee parred the last to lead by one.
"I think my putting was best. It was better than yesterday, so my score was good," Lee said through an interpreter. "Better putting this week, was able to convert the birdies and save the pars, which I wasn't able to do last week."
Alison Lee, who was an amateur star at UCLA last year, birdied the first to grab a share of the lead at 10-under. However, she stumbled to bogeys at two and three to fall off the pace.
At the par-5 fifth, Lee made birdie to get back to even-par for her round. She ran off three birdies in a 4-hole span from the seventh to jump to 12-under.
Lee was briefly tied for the lead after that burst. She followed that run with five consecutive pars from the 11th. Lee soared within one of the lead as she birdied each of the final three holes.
"I started off the day really well. I got a birdie on the first hole, then I had a couple hiccup holes ... but I told myself to stay in the game and stay confident," Lee stated. "Eventually, I turned my round around, and I just kept hitting every green and getting it close and giving myself chances all day long. I feel really comfortable over the golf ball for my approach shots and I've been hitting it really well today."
NOTES: This is the first time Mirim Lee has had the 54-hole lead on the LPGA Tour ... Ko is two rounds shy of Annika Sorenstam's tour record of 29 consecutive under-par rounds.