Japan’s Ayaka Furue fired a bogey-free five-under par 67 to match Americans Lilia Vu and Andrea Lee for the lead after round three of Saturday’s LPGA Portland Classic.
The 22-year-old from Kobe led off with a birdie, hitting three in a row from the par-5 fifth and added another on the 14th to go head-to-head at Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon.
Vu, Lee and Furue were 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.
A stroke of the pace at 204 were Australia’s Hannah Green, Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, South African Paula Reto and Ecuadorian Daniela Darquea.
“It’s very important to play bogey-free golf,” Furue said. “I think it’s more important than getting birdies, not having bogeys. So I’m really happy about that today.”
Furue won her first LPGA title at the Scottish Open in July after winning seven Japan Tour crowns.
The first of these came as an amateur in 2019 and she won three each in 2020 and 2021.
She said her approach would not change on Sunday as she tries to break away from the lead pack for her second win of the season.
“My mindset won’t change,” she said. “Keep playing the way I’ve always played. If I see an opportunity, I’ll try to birdie, try to make safe pars.”
Lee, who like Vu is a 24-year-old former number one of the world amateurs and looking for her first LPGA triumph, won her first pro title in April at a development tour event in Tucson, Arizona.
She opened and closed the first nine with birdies around another on the par-5 fifth, then birdied 14 and followed her only bogey at 15 with back-to-back birdies and a closing par for a shot at her first LPGA win .
“I’ve been playing solid golf all year,” Lee said. “I feel really comfortable here. I have gained some experience and that will help me tomorrow.”
Vu, whose three wins in the 2021 development tour earned her a rookie LPGA spot this season, opened with a bogey and took another at six after birdied in fifth.
But Vu followed with birdies on the par-5 10th and 12th holes and added back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15.