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Nordqvist on the move at Mobile LPGA after flawless 3rd round

MOBILE, Alabama -- Sweden's Anna Nordqvist fired a flawless third-round six-under-par 66 on Saturday to seize the lead in the Airbus LPGA Classic in Alabama.

Nordqvist's six birdies included four in a row from the second and she drained a clutch par putt at 18 to preserve her bogey-free round and a one-shot lead over Scotland's Catriona Matthew.

Matthew had led after each of the first two rounds, finishing both Thursday and Friday one stroke in front of English teenager Charley Hull.

Matthew got off to a shaky start on Saturday, with three bogeys in her first five holes. She righted the ship, pulling back one stroke before the turn and making four birdies for a two-under 70 for 201.

American Stacy Lewis, the world number two who could supplant South Korean Park In-Bee atop the world rankings at the end of the week, had eight birdies and two bogeys in a 66 that left her alone in third on 14-under 202.

“Overall, I hit it really great off the tee,” Lewis said. “I gave myself some opportunities and I was able to take advantage of some of them.”

She said she wouldn't be focusing on her chance to rise to number one come Sunday. Park left the door wide open by missing the halfway cut and Lewis needs only a solo third-place finish or better to topple her.

“The goal is to win,” Lewis said. “I'm not here to finish second or third. Now it's just going out there and trying to win a golf tournament.”

Hull, who won her first Ladies European Tour title at Morocco in March shortly before her 18th birthday, carded a 71 to join Americans Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda in a tie for fourth on 203.

Wie posted a 66 and Korda carded a 69.

Nine players are within four strokes of Nordqvist, which will make for an exciting finish on the Crossings Course, where Nordqvist will be seeking a third title of the season after triumphs in Carlsbad, California, in March and in Thailand in February.

The Swede has displayed devastating accuracy, hitting 51 of 54 greens in regulation over the first three rounds, including 17 of 18 on Saturday.

“I'm really happy today,” she said. “I think I hit 17 greens in regulation, and I hit a really good shot into the last and it just went over (the green).”

However, she's not taking anything for granted.

“Last year, I was in the final group and I was playing well and there was a lot of people coming from behind, so I know this golf course, you can never relax,” she said.

“You always have to keep pushing forward and trying to make birdies because if you don't, someone else will.”

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Anna Nordqvist, of Norway, tees off on the seventh hole in the third round of the tournament at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, May 24. (AP)

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