Rolex World No.2 Suzann Pettersen is on track to secure her fourth LPGA title of the year tomorrow at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.
The Norwegian had mastered the difficult windy conditions with poise this in the opening two rounds but struggled on Saturday. She entered the third-round five-shots clear of her nearest competitor but the Norwegian saw her lead begin to dwindle after bogeys at Nos. 2, 4, and 5.
“You know, I had a great warm-up, felt good,” said Pettersen. “On the second, I kind of made a little amateur mistake trying to get too cute on the tee ball and left myself with a very tough up and down. I just couldn't get it going and made a few errors. Today was a tough day for me. It was all about hanging in there and trying to bring it back to where I started.”
Following the string of bogeys, Pettersen’s fierce competitive nature took center stage as she regained control of her round with birdies at the par-5 8th and par-5 13th before faltering with another bogey at the 17th. Pettersen finished her round in style with a birdie at the 18th to post a three-day total of 6-under-par.
While Pettersen saw her round quickly beginning to slip through her fingertips, she was able to withstand difficult scoring conditions at Sunrise Golf & Country Club and maintain a comfortable lead heading into Sunday.
“I could easily have lost it out there today,” said Pettersen. “It was you know, some days are easy, some days are not that easy, some of the times you see everything you're going to do right in front of you. Other times you fall in between clubs and are not quite sure and then you start questioning if it's enough, if you had enough if it's going to be too spinning. It's one of those days where you can be very analytic, and it's all in the conditions to be analytic. One more day in these conditions.”
Spaniards Azahara Munoz (69), Carlota Ciganda (72) and South Korean Sun Young Yoo (72) will be leading the chase to catch Pettersen. The trio are at two-under-par and four shots adrift. They are the only players under par. Swede Caroline Hedwall (72) and another Spaniard Beatriz Recari (73) are at even par and share fifth place.
It wasn’t a good day for Australian Katherine Hull-Kirk. The Queenslander started the day in a tie for fourth but a five-over-par 77 saw her drop back to four-over-par and in a share for 21st position.
Lindsey Wright and Sarah Jane Smith both shot one-over-par rounds of 73. Wright is tied for 31st at six-over-par, while Smith is at 10-over and shares 51st place.