Rookie Anna Nordqvist shot a 3-under 69 Saturday to take a one-shot lead over Seon Hwa Lee and Ai Miyazato 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.
Miyazato had three straight birdies on Nos. 8-10, all par 5s, 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.
Ominous clouds and a few heavy downpours passed over the course west of Portland. In the afternoon, the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds roared nearby as part of their performance for the Oregon International Air Show.
Nordqvist, who is from Sweden and played at Arizona State, was her usual unflappable self, 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.
Lee, a South Korean who won twice on the tour last year but has yet to win 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 won for the first time at the Evian Masters in July.
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. Bader opened with a 64, her best round since 2007 and her best start at a tournament since the season opener in 2003.
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.