3-way logjam in Portland

PORTLAND, OREGON – SEPTEMBER 17: Ayaka Furue of Japan walks off the green after sinking her birdie putt on the seventh hole during round three of the AmazingCre Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on September 17, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Japan’s Ayaka Furue fired a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to match Americans Lilia Vu and Andrea Lee for the lead after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Portland Classic.

The 22-year-old from Kobe opened with a birdie, reeled off three in a row starting at the par-5 fifth and added another at the 14th to leap into contention at Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan shot a second-straight 71 to climb into a share of 54th place.

The 24-year-old Filipina sits on 1-under after 54 holes, 12 shots off the pace.

Starting at the back, she made back-to-back birdies from 11, bogeyed 15 and birdied 18 to reach the turn on 2-under.

However, Pagdanganan could not buy a birdie going home and dropped a shot in the par-5 seventh hole.

Unlike in the previous round where she birdied all four par-5 holes, she was even-par on the course’s longest holes.

Pagdanganan missed six fairways and seven greens but fared better on the greens with 28 putts.

Vu, Lee and Furue were on 13-under 203 after 54 holes. Vu, a 36-hole co-leader, shot 69 while Lee birdied three of the last five holes for 67.

One stroke off the pace on 204 were Australia’s Hannah Green, Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, South African Paula Reto and Ecuador’s Daniela Darquea.

Furue won her first LPGA title in July at the Scottish Open after winning seven Japan Tour crowns, the first as an amateur in 2019 and three more in both 2020 and 2021.

Lee, who like Vu is a 24-year-old former world amateur number one seeking her first LPGA triumph, won her first pro title in April at a developmental tour event in Tucson, Arizona.

She opened and closed the front nine with birdies around another at the par-5 fifth, then birdied 14 and followed her lone bogey at 15 with back-to-back birdies and a closing par to have a chance at her first LPGA victory.

“I’ve played solid golf all year long,” Lee said.

“I feel really comfortable out here. I’ve had some experience and that will help me out tomorrow.”

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