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Lewis takes 2 shot-lead over Moriya in Portland

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With more than golf on her mind, Stacy Lewis has managed to keep a laser-like focus through three rounds at the Cambia Portland Classic presented by JTBC, and leads by three shots heading into Sunday’s final round.

Lewis, who announced prior to Thursday that she would donate her entire cheque this week to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston – where her husband is the women’s golf coach at the University of Houston, and where she moved when she was 11 – fired a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday.

“I’ve been motivated for one, but I’ve just been extremely calm. Anybody who has seen me play knows that’s not normally me. There has just been a calmness about me this week. I haven’t worried about anything and just played really solid,” said Lewis.

Lewis goes into Sunday’s finale three shots ahead of Moriya Jutanugarn, who fired a 6-under-par 66 in the third round.

Jutanugarn, who was the 2013 Rookie of the Year, has never won on the LPGA Tour. “I was feeling great. You know, I have been hitting solid and (gave) myself a lot of really good chances for birdie,” said Jutanugarn. “Make some, miss some, but it’s still pretty solid round.”

A shot further back at 13-under through three rounds is In Gee Chun, who shot a 3-under-par 69 on Saturday. Chun has four runner-up finishes in 2017 but hasn’t yet cracked the winner’s circle.

Moriya Jutanugarn interview

Q. 14-under through three rounds. How are you feeling?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, I was feeling great. You know, I have been hitting solid and put myself in a lot of really good chance for birdie.
Make some, miss some, but it's still pretty solid round. Yeah.
Q. Seemed like you were on fire in the front nine today. What were going so well for you?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Just I put myself in pretty good position. Like just kind of be patient and see where I should put it on the green. You know, then just starting to like make the putt, like the ball just drop.
Back nine just a little rush, a little rough sometimes. Also I still hit a good shot, but sometime it doesn't really go like what I want.
But still, I think I hit it pretty good.
Q. You made a birdie on 18 to end your day. What kind of momentum will that bring for tomorrow?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, it's great, you know, like to see the ball just starting to drop into the hole. Tomorrow is going to be a new day, so I don't know what is going to happen.
It could be good, could be okay, but just try to play my game and have fun on the course. That's pretty much my big goal tomorrow.
Q. How long was the putt on 18?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Not very good with that. I would go like 30 something.
Q. Okay. You have your Vision 54 team here. How have they helped you this week?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, they're come and they here with us since Tuesday to Thursday, so it's been really nice. Always really nice to see them. Always something new. Like you always learn every day.
We been talking and it's pretty good talk, and it just kind of like narrow my focus a little, you know, like closer, like tight it up a little bit. I think it's pretty good work.
Q. Looks like you may be in the final group tomorrow. Is your sister going to be watching, and does it make you nervous at all being in the last group?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, you know, I play last group few time this year. Every time I always learn something new. I mean, tomorrow is going to be really good experience also.
You know, I can't say like I don't like it at all. It's always, always really nice to play in the last group. I just want to -- it's going to be another thing that I will learn tomorrow.
Q. Is your sister going to watch?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: I don't know. She's back in Thailand right now. I don't know if she going to watch. Maybe she going to text me in the morning.
I don't know.
Q. Wish you luck?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Always. Like she always, like Hey, good luck, and she be gone for like few days.

“I had a lot of solid shots on the course. Much better than yesterday,” said Chun. “I think putter was good, too… I want to try keep (stay) patient tomorrow.”

 LOOKING FOR THE FIRST

Of the 12 players that make up the top 10 through three rounds of the Cambia Portland Classic, it is In Gee Chun, who sits in third place, who has the most recent LPGA victory to her name. A win on Sunday in Portland would be the first for eight of the 12 players in the top 10.

 54-hole leader Stacy Lewis is looking for her first LPGA Tour win since the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, and it’s been well documented that she has had 12 runner-up finishes in that time span - including at the 2016 Cambia Portland Classic. 

 “I know it’s been a while since I won,” Lewis said with a laugh. “Everybody talks about it. I really feel like the last few months I’ve been playing some good golf. I’ve just needed a couple good breaks here and there having good numbers into holes.

“There were a couple holes out there today I just had perfect numbers into and you can just fire at the flag. You need these little things to go your way. But it’s been close. I’ve been playing better. Just the scores haven’t shown it always. That’s why I was excited about playing here.”

 The 2017 LPGA season has seen two Rolex First-Time Winners, major champions Danielle Kang and Sung Hyun Park, and a look at the leaderboard heading into Sunday in Portland shows a good opportunity for another fresh face in the winner’s circle.

 Player                           Position        Last Victory (# of Total Wins)

Stacy Lewis                    1                    2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (11)

Moriya Jutanugarn        2                    Never Won

In Gee Chun                  3                    2016 The Evian Championship (2)

Brittany Altomare         4                    Never Won

Gaby Lopez                    T5                  Never Won

Nicole Broch Larsen*    T5                  Never Won

Chella Choi                    T5                  2015 Marathon Classic (1)

Megan Khang                T8                  Never Won

Gerina Piller                  T8                  Never Won

Dori Carter                    T8                  Never Won

Candie Kung                  T8                  2008 Hana Bank-KOLON Championship (4)

Nasa Hataoka*              T8                  Never Won

*Denotes 2017 LPGA rookie

 QUOTABLE

“Just being more appreciative. You think you got it pretty tough, but there are people down there that have it way harder than we do out here. Definitely puts things in perspective.”

            - Stacy Lewis (1st) on how donating her winnings to hurricane relief efforts has affected her mindset this week

“I play last group few time this year. Every time I always learn something new. I mean, tomorrow is going to be really good experience also.”

            - Moriya Jutanugarn (2nd) on playing in the final group on Sunday

“Today I was, you know what? I don’t care what’s going to happen. I don’t care where the ball is going to go. I’m just going to make my swing. I think that’s exactly what I did.”

            - Gaby Lopez (T5) on her career-best round of 64

 QUICK HITS

This is the 14th time in her career that Stacy Lewis has been the 54-hole leader/co-leader

When holding the third-round lead, Lewis has never finished outside the top six and has gone on to win eight times

This season, Lewis held a share of the 54-hole lead at the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic where she went on to finish third

This week is start No. 83 for Lewis since her last victory in 2014

 In Gee Chun is looking for her first non-major win, with her two lone LPGA victories coming at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2016 Evian Championship

Chun has six top-5 finishes this season including four runner-up’s

Moriya Jutanugarn is looking to join her sister Ariya, who has six LPGA wins, as an LPGA winner

 Moriya has one made cut in three tries at the Cambia Portland Classic, with a best finish of T19 in 2014

 Moriya’s career-best finish was a runner-up finish at the 2017 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

 Brittany Altomare tied her season-low round on Saturday with a 6-under par 66

 A 2014 rookie, Altomare is looking for her first career top-10 finish; she has six career top 20s including a T19 finish at the 2016 Cambia Portland Classic

 Gaby Lopez posted a bogey-free 8-under par 64 on moving day, her career-best round on the LPGA

 At the 2016 Cambia Portland Classic, Lopez finished T19 in her rookie season

 

Published : September 03, 2017

By : AFP