(Reuters) - Suzann Pettersen saved par after a deft bunker shot at the final hole to hold a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Manulife LPGA Classic in Ontario on Saturday.
She carded a six-under-par 66 on the Whistle Bear course in Cambridge to move within sight of a 15th LPGA title and her first since 2013.
But the 34-year-old Norwegian will not be planning her victory speech just yet, not with two classy players breathing down her neck on a course that is yielding heaps of birdies.
Colombian Mariajo Uribe (67) is just one stroke behind, while veteran American Cristie Kerr (67) trails by two after draining a 20-foot birdie putt from off the putting surface at the final hole.
Pettersen got off to a rousing start with birdies at the first three holes and she picked up all of her shots in the first 11 holes to finish with a 19-under total of 197.
“I got off to a fantastic start today, everything went my way at the start (but) it kind of dried up a little bit towards the end,” the former world number two told reporters.
“Overall very happy and in a good position, but there’s a job to be done tomorrow.”
Whatever the outcome, her game is rounding into form at an ideal time heading into a major next week, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Westchester, New York.
Uribe, the 2007 U.S. Amateur champion, has not won an official LPGA event and knows that only a victory on Sunday will make news back home.
“In Colombia they only follow soccer really,” she said. “The only way I can make it to the TV in prime-time is if I win.
”Top 10 is not good enough for them.
“I’m a pretty aggressive player, so I didn’t have to change my strategy here. I feel really confident right now. My driver’s pretty straight.”
Kerr, meanwhile, has won 17 LPGA events, including a U.S. Women’s Open, so she knows what it takes to get the job done.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom