Third Round Recap from LPGA LOTTE Championship

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Suzann Petersen of Norway tees off the second hole during the third round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf at the Ko Olina Golf Club.

Rolex Rankings No. 6 Suzann Pettersen will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf after shooting a 4-under 68 in Friday’s third round. Pettersen got off to a hot start in her round, making birdies on her first three holes, and managed to hold steady in her round by playing the back nine in 1-under, as other players caught fire on ‘Moving Day’ when the Hawaii winds died down at Ko Olina Golf Club.

“I found a few little keys yesterday on the range, just to tighten up the swing a fraction after two days in the wind, and I came up the back pretty good,” Pettersen said. “Birdied the first three and just really tried to keep feeding the ball to the hole and trying to stay aggressive. I had one three‑putt, and other than that I played pretty solid. It's definitely on the challenging side out here.”

One player who put pressure on Pettersen during Friday’s third round was 2011 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Hee Kyung Seo. The 26-year-old tied for the low round of the day with a 6-under 66 and currently sits one shot back of Pettersen.

Also chasing not far behind is defending champion Ai Miyazato, who sits three shots back at 11-under-par after shooting a third-round 70. Miyazato won this event by four shots last year at 12-under, but so far the scores have proven to be lower as showcased by a total of 47 players currently sitting under par.

“I think the greens are definitely softer than last year,” Miyazato said. “I think that makes a big difference. I remember it was really tough to make an adjustment with the iron shots last year. Definitely the greens are softer, so you can be a little bit more aggressive than last year, so I think that makes them a little bit more lower this year.”

Stacy Lewis, who is looking to regain her No. 1 ranking after losing it to Inbee Park on Monday, has put herself within reach of taking back the top spot and even perhaps winning the tournament as well. Lewis currently sits in a tie for fifth at 9-under-par while Park is one shot behind her at 8-under. There are a number of scenarios that could unfold on Sunday but with Park’s strong play this week, it appears that Lewis will likely have to finish third or better with Park finishing fifth or lower to truly have a shot at regaining No. 1.

A few of the up-and-coming Americans also made their presence felt. Jessica Korda, 20, tied Seo for the low round of the day with a 66 to move to 8-under for the tournament and University of Southern California alum Lizette Salas fired a 5-under 67 to move into a tie for fifth at 9-under-par.

Of course there will be plenty of intrigue on the course for Saturday’s final round if the winds can stay a little calmer like they were on Friday. It leaves open the possibility of many golfers playing their way into contention for the title.

“There's too many good players to start stepping on the brake,” Pettersen said. “But I really hope that they will set up the course in a fun way tomorrow, make the par‑5s reachable. I love seeing us being able to reach the par‑5s and tuck the pins. It makes it exciting; it could be for the good and for the bad. But let us have some risk‑reward.

“I hope they'll make it a little bit more playful tomorrow, just mix it up, and yeah, just let us go low.”

Topics: LPGA Lotte Championship

Andrews Sports MedicineArpin Van LinesFloridas NaturalMedjet AssistMichelob ULTRAPrudentialSmuckers