Sunday could bring the breakthrough Suzann Pettersen has been hunting for months. Going into the Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions final round, defending champ and world ranked number 4 Pettersen is waging a fierce battle for back-to-back wins. After a slow first round start, Pettersen came back strong on Friday and Saturday and clawed her way into a tie with Mi Jung Hur and Carlota Ciganda for the top of the leaderboard. Going into the final round today the trio are tied at 11-under par. Can Pettersen sustain her charge and pull a winning game out of her bag today?
Pettersen, Ciganda, and Hur lead a packed leaderboard that has eight players within two shots of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. Their most immediate threats are two of Korea’s International Crown team standouts, So Yeon Ryu and I.K. Kim, and Tour rookie Xi Yu Lin, who are in a tie for fourth and one shot back.
Pettersen (2011 & 2013) and Hur (2009) are both past Portland Classic champions while Ciganda is playing for her first LPGA Tour title. Pettersen jumped up the leaderboard on moving day with her second-consecutive round of 5-under 67. She birdied the 16th and 17th holes to get to 11-under par. Now she has a chance at becoming only the second three-time winner of the event in its 43-year history, joining Nancy Lopez.
After her Saturday round Pettersen was feeling very optimistic about her chances of claiming the Portland Classic victory.
My game is getting better and better . . . Today I had a lot of chances on the back nine. Just couldn’t quite drop the putts. But it was a good solid round.
Hur, whose only LPGA win came here in Portland during her rookie season in 2009, is likely to take a nothing-to-lose attitude into Sunday’s final round and wants to make sure she has no regrets at shooting for her second career win.
A bogey on the 18th hole kept Carlota Ciganda from claiming the outright lead at 12-under par but the Spaniard has said her confidence is at an all-time high.
The first two days the ball striking was really good, and obviously my putter yesterday, it was — it was really hot . . . I made really good saves for par and made a few good birdies out there. So I’m just excited for tomorrow and let’s see what happens.
Despite Hur’s and Ciganda’s determination, Suzann Pettersen is going to be hard to beat on Sunday. She’s the only player on Tour with top-10 finishes in each of her last five starts and she’s going into the final round thinking about defending her title at the Evian Championship as well as the immediate task before her in Portland.
With that said, will this be the week for Suzann Pettersen’s breakthrough? The odds are with her. Sixteen times Pettersen’s held the lead or co-lead after the third round. In eight of those events she’s finished with the win, including the last five times.
The Portland Classic Sunday round begins at 7:40am local time with the final group, defending champion Pettersen and former champion Hur, teeing off at 2pm local time. Golf Channel begins coverage of the round in progress at 7pm ET.
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