NORTH PLAINS, Ore. (AP) — Ai Miyazato succinctly summed up rookie Anna Nordqvist.
“Very steady player,” Miyazato said after Nordqvist shot a 3-under 69 Saturday to take a 1-shot lead going into the final round of the Safeway Classic.
Nordqvist, who won the LPGA Championship earlier this year, was at 10-under 134 after the first two rounds at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. Chasing her were Miyazato and Seon Hwa Lee.
Known for her composure, Nordqvist didn’t deviate when asked if she was anxious about Sunday.
“I think I’m not more nervous than anybody else,” she said matter-of-factly.
Nordqvist, who is from Sweden and played at Arizona State, was her usual unflappable self during her round, following up bogeys on the eighth and 14th holes with birdies.
“I just kept hanging in there,” she said.
In June, Nordqvist won the LPGA Championship by four strokes over Lindsey Wright. It was just her fifth professional tournament.
Miyazato had three straight birdies on Nos. 8-10, all par-5 holes, to climb up the leaderboard with a 68, while Lee sank a birdie putt on the par-4 18th hole and wound up with a 70.
Lee, a South Korean who won twice on the tour last year but has yet to have a victory this season, joked about her strategy for Sunday’s round.
“My plan for tomorrow is to hit the fairways, hit the greens and make putts,” she said with a giggle.
Miyazato, who played in a group with Nordqvist in the opening round, won for the first time at the Evian Masters in July.
Ominous clouds and a few heavy downpours passed over the course west of Portland on Saturday. In the afternoon, the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds roared nearby as part of their performance for the Oregon International Air Show.
Michele Redman (69) and Suzann Pettersen (68) were at 8 under.
Beth Bader, who led by a stroke after the first round, had a 73 and was three shots off the pace at 7 under.
Defending champion Cristie Kerr had a 70, while Michelle Wie shot a 71. Each goes into the final round at 5 under. Both were on the U.S. Solheim Cup team that defeated Europe last weekend in Sugar Grove, Ill.
Before Saturday’s round got under way, Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak withdrew for undisclosed reasons. She shot a 69 on Saturday.
Among those who missed the cut were Pat Hurst, who won the Safeway Classic in 2006, Lorie Kane and Laura Davies.