THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 18, 2022 at 09:45 JST
Ayaka Furue lines up a putt on the 14th green during the first round of the LPGA Tour Kroger Queen City Championship golf tournament in Cincinnati on Sept. 8. (AP Photo)
PORTLAND, Ore.--Andrea Lee and Lilia Vu both reached No. 1 in the women’s world amateur ranking when they were in college. Now they have a shot at their first LPGA Tour victory.
Vu had four birdies on the back nine and had a 3-under 69 on Saturday and Lee finished strong with a 67 to share the lead with Ayaka Furue (67) of Japan going in the final round of the AmazingCre Portland Classic.
Lee starred at Stanford and said the Columbia Edgewater course reminds her of the Cardinal’s home course with its tree-lined fairways. Vu was an All-American at UCLA who earned her LPGA Tour card back for this year through the Epson Tour.
Furue, who won the Ladies Scottish Open this year, joined them at 13-under 203.
None of them could find much separation with so many players in the mix, and when the day ended, 10 players were within three shots of the lead.
“I’m just going to go out there and have a good time and let the golf do what it will do,” Vu said.
Former Women’s British Open champion Hinako Shibuno had a 66 and was one shot behind along with Paula Reto of South Africa, who had a 67, former Women’s PGA champion Hannah Green (68) and Daniela Darquea of Ecuador, who had a most exciting round of 68.
Darquea holed out for eagle from the fairway on the ninth hole to get back in the game and then finished with a 25-foot birdie putt.
Esther Henseleit of Germany had a 71 and was two shots behind along with Ryann O’Toole (67), while the group three shots behind included Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Maja Stark of Sweden, who played at Oklahoma State.
Stark is playing her first tournament as an LPGA Tour member. She won four times on the Ladies European Tour this year, the last one coming in the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland that was co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and counted as a win.
Stark was one shot behind when she three-putted from about 12 feet on the par-3 16th hole and made what she referred to as a “quick double bogey.” Even so, she’s very much in the mix, just like so many others.
“There’s so many girls around the lead, so I guess it’s going to be like around 20 people still playing for the win,” Henseleit said. “Just try to go out and shoot something low and see if it’s your day tomorrow.”
Also three shots behind was Caroline Inglis, a member at Columbia Edgewater who had plenty of support throughout the entire day.
“It’s so nice. Like I’ll make like a tap-in for bogey or something and they’re like clapping. It’s like, ‘Simmer down.’ But no, it’s nice to have so many familiar faces and have a good crowd cheering me. You don’t get that very often, so it’s pretty special.”
Brooke Henderson of Canada was four shots behind. Nelly Korda had a 69 and was six shots behind. Korda needs to win to have a chance to return to No. 1 in the world.
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