Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

77°F

Portland

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 45%

Wind: 7 mph

  • 19 Sep 2014

    Sunny 78°F 58°F

  • 20 Sep 2014

    Sunny 90°F 65°F


Tseng's 63 claims three-shot lead at LPGA Safeway Classic

Yani Tseng, the No. 1 women's golfer in the world not long ago, looked the part again Saturday.

Tseng blistered Columbia Edgewater Country Club — which has been all but brought to its knees this week — with a 9-under-par 63.

The hot round gave Tseng a three-shot lead over Pornapong Phatlu and Suzann Petterson going into Sunday's final round of the $1.3 million LPGA Safeway Classic.

Tseng made 11 birdies in round three as she finished at 18-under 198 for 54 holes.

Pettersen had a 70, while Phatlum settled for a 71.

World No. 2 Stacy Lewis headed a group of four players at 202. Morgan Pressel, Anna Nordqvist and Lizette Salas also were at that number.

Nordqvist fired a 63 in the third round, while Lewis and Pressel each shot 65, and Salas turned in a 68.

Lewis hasn't made a bogey on the 6,545-yard layout this week.

"I don't know if I've gotten this far in a tournament" without one, she said.

She admitted she thought about that while standing over a 15-foot putt to save par on No. 14.

And, it took some friendly trees on the par-4 18th to save her streak. The forest not only kept her hybrid tee shot from possibly going out of bounds but also sent her ball back onto the fairway, helping in her quest for a fourth victory of the LPGA season.

Tseng, from Taiwan, is looking for her first tour win since 2012. The 2011 player of the year ranks 33rd on the 2013 LPGA money list and has been in a lengthy slump. She missed four consecutive cuts before tying for 24th at last week's Canadian Women's Open. Both of her top-10 finishes this season came at the start of the year. It has been 36 starts since her last victory.

"It's great to be back in (contending) position again," she said. "I was really happy out there, and the galleries are awesome, and I just love every part of the golf out there and really enjoyed every shot.

"I just feel good about my swing. I played a little more aggressively the last two days, tried to go for the pin every shot and make birdie every hole."

One of her bogeys came after a snap-hook tee shot on the par-5 12th. She said bouncing back with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th was important for her psyche as well as her score.

Phatlum led after the first two rounds, but her torrid putting cooled off some on Friday and then went cold on Saturday.

"My putting was not really good today," she said.

Pettersen's game and momentum also stalled on Saturday, as she managed to play the final six holes in only par, with a bogey on the 17th.

"It wasn't that good of a round for me," she said. "I felt like the greens were a lot more bumpy coming in (in the last group), but I'm just really glad there's one more day, because there's still another low round in me."

Another group of four players -- Karrie Webb, Sandra Changkija, Cristie Kerr and Caroline Masson -- were 13 under through three rounds.

Austin Ernst, a tour rookie from LSU, turned in a 62 that put her among three players at 12 under.

Ernst said her "goal score today was 64." She shot 29 on the front nine and "made a ton of putts," including "every putt I looked at except for I think two."

She bogeyed the 11th after having to punch out from the rough with her second shot. And, on the back nine, "I had two putts I just rolled over the edge," she said.

Tseng she felt the pressure when she was on top of the world rankings.

"Everybody expects you to win every week, but it's impossible. But I felt like I would be winning every week," she said. "I try, but it's really hard."

Pettersen said she was happy to see Tseng having success again.

"There's no one that I'd rather see playing better and playing well again than Yani," Pettersen said. "I know she's been through a very rough patch. Like I said to her, she's just got to stay patient. She's too good not to kind of hang tough and be in the game."

Tseng and Pettersen are paired in Sunday's final twosome, and Tseng said she figures it will take a strong finish to claim the trophy.

"I think you need a low round (Sunday) to win at this course," Tseng said. "You can see how strong the LPGA is right now. You don't know who's going to shoot 10 under tomorrow to win the tournament."

Lewis agreed that no one can coast to a victory or count on the leaders to fall back.

"This whole tournament is a shootout," she said. "Whoever wins tomorrow is probably going to shoot 65 or better."