Michigan: India's Aditi Ashok and Pajaree Anannarukarn got into a great position for their maiden LPGA success as they shared lead with defending champions Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura after the third round of Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational here.
Aditi and Pajaree shot a bogey-free 67 while Clanton and Suwannapura carded 5-under 65 and both duos were at 15-under 195 at windy Midland Country Club. The teams will close Saturday with a best-ball round.
Anannarukarn, from Thailand, and Aditi, are winless on the LPGA Tour and have so far shot 65-63-67 and not dropped any bogeys.
European Solheim Cup players Carlota Ciganda and Mel Reid were 14 under after a 66.
For Aditi, 23, finding herself, albeit with a partner, on top of the leaderboard just before she sets off for Tokyo Olympics is like a 'second shot' at the world's biggest stage.
In 2016, Aditi attracted a lot of attention at the age of 19, as she played 68-68 on first two days to contend at the halfway mark. Later she faded away.
Since then she has turned professional, won three times on Ladies European Tour and now plays on the biggest Tour, the LPGA.
Aditi and her 22-year-old Thai partner Pajaree have been named 'The Spice Girls' and the Indian said, "Thai and Indian food can be very spicy."
With no Indian having won on the LPGA Tour, Aditi said, "I think it would be amazing, especially because we've always had men doing well on international tours but not as many women. It would be amazing for golf in India."
Anannarukarn is from a country full of tour stars, including Suwannapura, who will be in the final group with her, and Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn, who are two shots behind.
Aditi and Pajaree have known each other since junior days in Asia.
"There are just fewer Asians (playing junior golf)," she said.
"Not Koreans but just Asians apart from Korea. So, we ended up playing a lot of tournaments together."
That friendship translated into a great partnership this week.
"With the team event, I know if I hit the greens, she's really confident with her irons and wedges, so if I just hit it close, maybe not super close, but if she sees a ball on the green, she can go straight at it," Aditi said of the team strategy.