Suzann Pettersen had a great chance to run away from the field on moving day at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. With 5 birdies in her 1st 10 holes and a bogey-free streak of 37 holes and counting, she stood at -14 for the tournament heading into the same back 9 on which she had shot a 30 the previous day. But even though her bogey-free streak made it to 41 holes in all, she bogeyed 2 of her last 4 and didn't make a single birdie down the stretch to finish at -12. It was still good enough for the lead, as Paula Creamer squandered an eagle on the par-5 10th and a birdie on the par-4 11th by going +2 over her last 7 holes to drop back to -10 and none of her other challengers could go super-low. But with 4 people playing great golf only 1 shot behind her, Pettersen has her work cut out for her tomorrow.
Consider what--or rather, who--she's up against. Ai Miyazato, In-Kyung Kim, and Stacy Lewis have not shot a round in the 70s yet this week, while Karine Icher is having a career year and is on a 30-hole-and-counting bogey-free run. A shot behind Creamer at -10 are Karrie Webb, Amy Yang, Azahara Munoz, and Meena Lee. Fortunately for Pettersen, she has a 4-shot lead on Cristie Kerr, a 5-shot lead on Na Yeon Choi, and a 6-shot lead on Song-Hee Kim, but still there are 12 players within 5 shots of her.
Guess which 1 of them has won 5 of the 6 previous times she broke 70 in the 1st round this season? Yup, Ai-sama's 7th 1st round in the 60s of the year bodes well for her chances of denying Pettersen yet again in 2010. Given that she's been in the 60s in her final round 5 of the previous 6 times she was there in the 1st and hasn't gone low since her August win at the Safeway, I'd say she's super-due to make it 6 out of 7 and take her 6th title of the year tomorrow. You heard it here 1st!
[Update 1 (8:57 pm): Oh, boy! Ai-sama, Paula, and Stacy get to put pressure on Suzann from the group ahead of her! In-Kyung and Karine will go head-to-head with Suzann in the final round.]
[Update 2 (9:00 pm): Wow, if Inky, Stacy, or Karrie get their putters going tomorrow or if the rest of the leaders' putters cool off, things could get very interesting. Inky's only missed 6 greens in 3 rounds and Stacy and Karrie are striking the ball almost as solidly....]
[Update 3 (9:27 pm): Here are the notes and interviews from LPGA.com.]
[Update 4 (11/14/10, 4:31 am): bangkokbobby has a great write-up, awesome pictures, and fantastic youtube clips from the 3rd round, so what are you still doing here?]
[Update 5 (9:19 am): Heee-ere's Hound Dog's quick overview of moving day!]