Norway’s Suzann Pettersen (pictured) will take a slender one stroke lead into the final round of the Manulife LPGA Classic, while WA’s Minjee Lee remains in the top 20.
Pettersen fired a 6-under 66 on Saturday to sit atop of the leaderboard at 19-under-par in Canada. Pettersen, who is bogey-free through 54 holes at Whistle Bear Golf Club, leads Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe (67) by one shot and is playing for her 15th LPGA Tour victory. 17-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr (67) sank a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole to get to 17-under par and sits in solo third and two shots back.
Lee is the leading Australian heading into Sunday, a third round of 70 sees her at 11-under-par and tied for 15th. Queensland’s Sarah Jane Smith tied with four others, including Pettersen, for the low round of the day of 66. Her great round has seen her climb into a share of 22nd. While Sarah Kemp posted an even-par-round of 72, she is at six-under-par and tied for 51st.
Pettersen’s round of 66 tied four others for low round of the day and she said her aggressive mentality on Sunday will be front of mind. She said she intends to continue to set the pace with a large group of pursuers behind her.
“Oh, I can only look upwards, only I can set the pace,” said Pettersen. “Yeah, there’s a lot of people in the hunt for this and the course is playing great. I think it’s fun for the fans to see us shooting low scores and I’m excited to go back out there tomorrow and fight it to the very end.”
Pettersen has made it easy for herself with impeccable ball-striking this week and leads the entire field in greens in regulation (90.74%). The last time Pettersen held the lead heading into the final round was last season at the Portland Classic where she would close with a 74 and finish in a tie for 16th. She said she’ll feel comfortable out in front tomorrow and won’t feel any different than a practice round at home. She’s historically been solid on Sundays and has claimed eight of her 14 career victories when leading or co-leading before the start of the final round.
“Not really,” said Pettersen when asked if she’ll feel a difference with the lead on Sunday. “Probably be like a shootout at Bay Hill in Orlando. No, I’m playing good, I’m making putts and giving myself a lot of opportunities. I’ve had a couple of small mistakes, but I’ve managed to save myself. Overall pretty happy.”
Defending champ Inbee Park (70) sits in a tie for 32nd alongside Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (68).