SINGAPORE - Australian veteran Karrie Webb punched out of a greenside bunker for a brave birdie on her final hole as she stared down her challengers at the HSBC Women's Champions on Saturday.
The 39-year-old veteran displayed nerves of steel as she escaped from the bunker and then drained a five-foot pressure putt in front of the large gallery to maintain a narrow, one-shot lead in Singapore.
Webb, a 40-time winner on the LPGA tour who is enjoying a resurgence this year, toughed it out over 13 barren holes before her round came alive with three birdies in the last five.
Her two-under-par 70 gave her an aggregate score of 11-under 205, one ahead of fellow former winner Angela Stanford, with Spain's Azahara Munoz and Taiwan's Teresa Lu a further two shots back at par-72 Sentosa Golf Club.
"The birdie on the last was important for me, for momentum," said Webb, who has a boxing kangaroo logo on her cap. "Whether I had made my putt or not I would have still been tied for the putt at worst.
"But just momentum-wise, I hit a really good shot off the tee there. My bunker shot wasn't as great as I would have liked but I hit a very confident putt which gives me good feelings going into tomorrow."
Hall-of-Famer Webb had her heyday more than a decade ago but she is the player of the moment after winning this month in Australia and shooting 66, 69 and now 70 to lead every round in Singapore.
Both Webb and 36-year-old Stanford, who signed for 69 on Saturday, stand to become the first repeat winners of the $1.4 million tournament, now in its seventh edition.
Webb had watched her two-shot overnight lead disappear as she went birdie-less around the front nine and was caught by the charging Munoz and Paula Creamer.
And her frustrations grew on the par-four 10th, where she overhit the green, left her chip short and missed a 15-foot par putt.
However, an impeccable tee shot into the par-three 14th - bettered by her playing partners Stanford and Lu, who both went within inches - left her with a three-foot birdie putt to regain the outright lead.
On 16, the Australian rolled in a chip to go 10-under for the tournament, closely followed by playing partner Stanford who also birdied the same hole to remain one stroke behind.
At the last, Stanford drilled her approach close to the flag for a straightforward birdie, putting the pressure on Webb as she bunkered next to the green.
However, the Australian hit her wedge to to five feet and holed the important putt to remain one ahead going into the final day.
Stanford's last victory came after a gripping play-off in Singapore in 2012, and the American knows she is in for another fight if she is to regain the trophy.
Asked how she would approach the final day, she said: "I'm going to send Webby a six-pack tonight."
Meanwhile, Suzann Pettersen's chances of seizing the world number one ranking this week looked slim after two late bogeys left her with a 70, six shots off the lead.
Park In-Bee, whose top ranking has come under sustained threat, scored 71 to be eight shots adrift, and newly professional New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko, 16, fell out of the reckoning with a 73.