GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Suzann Pettersen moved into position for her first LPGA Tour victory of the year, shooting a 3-under 69 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Pettersen, the Norwegian star who has 10 top-five finishes season, was 12 under on the Guadalajara Country Club course. She had five victories in 2007 and also won the 2009 Canadian Women’s Open.
“I’ve been in this situation a lot,” Pettersen said. “Hopefully my experience from previous tournaments this year can help me play well tomorrow.”
Ai Miyazato (68), Stacy Lewis (69), In-Kyung Kim (68) and Karine Icher (68) were tied for second, and second-round leader Paula Creamer (72) was another stroke back at 10 under.
“If there’s that many people that close, some of them will go low,” Pettersen said. “You can’t really look back. Just try and look ahead and try and bring it home.”
Pettersen birdied five of the first 10 holes to reach 14 under, but dropped two strokes with bogeys on the par-4 15th and par-3 17th.
“It’s just a roller coaster out there,” Pettersen said. “I made some really good birdies and made a few sloppy on swings on the few bogeys that I made. But I made a good putt on the last and that kind of helped me get my momentum going for tomorrow. I’ve been feeling really good on the greens and making some nice putts.”
Ochoa, playing her first LPGA Tour event since retiring in April, shot a 69 on her home course, leaving her 10 shots back in a tie for 24th.
Miyazato has a tour-high five victories this season.
“I played really good, because it was kind of one of the tough days I think, because the wind just keeps switching around,” the Japanese star said. “And it was tough to make a decision on every single shot, but I had very good focus. I’m very happy. I played good today.”
She’s close friends with Ochoa.
“That would be great,” she said about winning. “But you never know what’s going to happen, because with the top 10 players, it’s getting really close right now. So I need to be like playing good and just need to be patient, I think. So one more day, you know, just having fun.”
Michelle Wie, the winner last year, withdrew Thursday because of a back injury after an opening 78.