Suzann Pettersen shot a four-under 68 on Friday at a wind-swept Ko Olina course to maintain a one-stroke lead after the third round of the LPGA Lotte Championship.
The 32-year-old Norwegian, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner ranked sixth in the world, had a 14-under 202 total.
South Korea’s Seo Hee-kyung was second after a 66, matching the best round of the day, and defending champion Ai Miyazato was third at 11 under after a 70.
“I hit good shots, good putts,” Pettersen said. “Been putting good all week, and really not trying to force anything, just let it come to me. I felt like I maybe left a few out there, but still, like Ai says, par is not a bad score around here. If you mix in a few birdies here and there, it really helps.”
Pettersen, a stroke ahead of Miyazato entering the round, birdied the first three holes and got to 14 under with a birdie on the par-four seventh. The European Solheim Cup star bogeyed the par-three eighth, and got the stroke back with a birdie on the par-five 14th.
She had consecutive LPGA Tour victories late last season in South Korea and Taiwan and won a Ladies European Tour event last month in China.
“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.
Miyazato, who was in Pettersen’s playing group, got off to a slow start, but rebounded after the turn with three birdies to remain in contention.
“It’s just trying to play simple out there,” Miyazato said. “I know my game really well and I know what I need to do, just keep making birdies and try and catch up to Suzann tomorrow.”
Seo, the 2010 Kia Classic winner who lost playoffs last year in the Australian Women’s Open and Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Canada, had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys. She made three straight birdies on the back nine for a share of the lead, but dropped back with a bogey on the par-four 18th.
“The shot making was good, too, and I had lots of great birdie opportunities and great chances to make it. It was really windy, but I got a little used to about wind from yesterday, so it wasn’t that hard for me,” Seo said.
South Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo, 17, was 10 under after a 69. Second-ranked Stacy Lewis had a 69 to join Lizette Salas (67) and Ariya Jutanugarn (68) at nine under.
Jessica Korda also had a 66 to finish at eight under along with top-ranked Inbee Park (67) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (68).
Third-ranked Yani Tseng, winless in more than year, had a 71 to get to two under, tied for 32nd place on 214.
Tseng, ranked third in the world, set off at the ninth hole, but soon entered a bogey spree at the 10th, 13th and 16th. In her first nine holes she shot a two-over 38, with one birdie at 15th.
She rebounded on the front nine with her second birdie at the first hole, and had two more birdies at the fifth and seventh holes respectively, before finishing one-under.