Lee, 21, typically a model of consistency who has not finished worse than 26 and has five top-six finishes this season alone, will need to hit back early, hard and often tomorrow if she's to regain the title she won in 2016 with the field chasing red-hot leader, Brooke Henderson.
She fashioned a 3-under 69 on Saturday to finish the tournament at 12 under par, four strokes ahead of second-place Inbee Park and Azahara Munoz.
The 35-year-old 2014 British Open victor from Pasadena, California, carded four bogeys and a double-bogey as her quest for a first career LPGA win in the United States continued. She insists she "gets more excited" in the wind, which should make Ko Olina an ideal site for her this week.
Sharp is part of a six-way tie at 69, with third-ranked Inbee Park, qualifier Julieta Granada, Mo Martin, Lizette Salas - who lost a playoff here in 2013 - and 2018 Kia Classic victor Eun-Hee Ji. "I don't think I ever played this wind before on this course in five, six years". After a bogey at the 12th, she pushed the gas pedal back down with birdies on the par-5 14th and par-3 16th and ultimately cruises to the finish line as nobody made a run from behind her.
Pernilla Lindberg shot 70 in her first start since beating Park in an eight-hole playoff in the year's first major.
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He won his first silver medal in 2008, also the first time a Malaysian had reached the finals in the men's singles event. Lee continued to plunder points as will before closing off the game by a comfortable margin to seal the title.
However the charge began on the back nine, with consecutive birdies at the 11th and 12th before a further birdie on the 14th.
"I got a little frustrated for missing a short putt, and then I tossed, quote/unquote, my putter at my bag", Salas said.
Henderson, who won two events previous year, opened her Saturday round with nine pars and two birdies over her first 11 holes. Qualifier Julieta Granada and second-year player Peiyun Chien, from Taiwan, shot 67 - low round of the day - to join a group of six another shot back.
"I would've liked it (her lead) to be a lot more, but one shot is good", Henderson said.
As for runner-up Munoz, she matched her best result on tour in four years. The 19-year-old shot two birdies on Nos. The nine-time PGA Tour victor birdied all four par-5 holes in a bogey-free round.