Pettersson in Pole
From Bethan Cutler, LET
Rabat, Morocco – April 15, 2017: Suzann Pettersen fired a third-round 70 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on Saturday and will take a one stroke lead into the final round of the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
The Norwegian golfer, a two-time Major winner, will be looking for her 22nd career title, having most recently lifted the silverware at the 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic.
“I hit a lot more greens today than I did yesterday. I had a lot of good looks. You have to keep the ball in the fairway around here. It’s so unpredictable, what it does out of the rough. The greens are firming up so if you are a little bit short sided it’s hard to get close. Overall, I did a decent job and I’m in a good position. I’m in the last group tomorrow and anything can happen, so I’ll try and stay aggressive,” said the eight-time Solheim Cup player.
“Patience is the key around this place. You can’t get stressed. Mistakes are as easy as good shots are. It’s a fine line and you’ve just got to try and play each hole for what it gives you and try to be aggressive where you can, because there are some holes where you can be a bit lengthy off the tee and try to take advantage and hit a shorter club into the hole. I’m looking forward to another day here in Morocco tomorrow.”
At six-under-par, Pettersen is a stroke clear of the halfway leader Lydia Hall from Wales, who held a three-stroke lead after seven holes in the third round, but lost her position with three straight birdies from the sixth followed by a double bogey at the 10th hole.
Hall said: “I got to two-under for the day after six holes but one poor decision and I didn’t execute the shot on the par-5, sixth. That cost me a shot and then a poor swing on seven cost me another shot. I managed to get up and down to save my bogey but it was one poor decision and then one bad swing. It was tricky in the middle part of the round.
“I stood on the 10th tee thinking of getting back to level par and pulled a tee shot on the left, but I settled the ship through 13, 14 and gave myself an opportunity on 17 to pull one back, so I’m in a good position for tomorrow.
“Yesterday I had no bogeys on the card, so that was really pleasing. It is going to bite you at some point, you’ve only got to miss five yards off the fairway and your underneath trees or in thick rough. The keys for me are to hit fairways and see how many greens in reg I can get and then see what I can do with the putter.”
Annabel Dimmock maintained third position with a 73 and is a stroke further behind Hall. She said: “It was weird because I’m not hitting it great off the tee and I’m playing well apart from that, but one drive got me. I hit the ball so far left, it actually hindered me by finding it. I dropped five shots in two holes but got back up and carried on and I’m surprised about where I’m sitting, for how well I played today. At the turn I was three over, so I said to my caddie, let’s get it back to level for the day. I missed a short putt on 14, the par-five, but I’m pretty happy with my back nine.”
Fellow Englishwoman Felicity Johnson tied for fourth with Krista Bakker of Finland. Johnson held the outright lead after 14 holes but dropped three strokes coming in.
Johnson said: “I saw I got into a tie for the lead but there were still a lot of holes to play so I didn’t take anything for granted. You are going to make bogeys out there. I’m still in contention for tomorrow. I’m three back and anything can happen in a round of golf. The two tournaments that I’ve won on tour, I’ve won from three back, so I know it’s very possible.”
Meanwhile Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald had the round of the day, a 67, to climb into a tie for sixth alongside Klara Spilkova of the Czech Republic and local players Maha Haddioui and Lina Belmati are tied for 26th and 61st respectively.
The fourth round gets under way on the Blue Course at 8am on Sunday, with the leaders teeing off at 9.40am local time.