LYTHAM ST ANNES, England (Kyodo) -- Mamiko Higa shot a 1-under 71 Saturday and dropped two notches to fourth place, but kept alive her hopes of becoming the second Japanese player to win a major title after three rounds at the Women's British Open.
Higa, who finished seventh on her British Open debut in 2013 as a 19-year-old, is one of three players on 10-under and will begin the final round at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club three shots behind leader Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand.
Phatlum retained her overnight lead with a 3-under 69, moving to 13-under overall.
Phatlum's playing partner Georgia Hall of England is one shot off the lead and South Korea's Ryu So Yeon is one shot behind Hall.
"I made more mistakes than I did in the first two days," said Higa, who carded three birdies and two bogeys.
"But finishing with an under-par score proves I've become better than I used to be. I've come this far, so all I do now is put on my best play," she said.
Should Higa win the Aug. 2-5 tournament, she will become only the second Japanese to capture a major. Hisako Higuchi, winner of the LPGA Championship in 1977, remains the only Japanese player to win a major championship on either the PGA or LPGA Tours.
Hideki Matsuyama and Isao Aoki's runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open last year and in 1980, respectively, are the closest a Japanese male golfer has gotten to a major title.