For the third straight event, Lorena Ochoa leads going into the final round at the Safeway Classic. Sophie Gustafson is in second place at -10, one shot behind. Mhairi McKay and Ji-Young Oh are tied for third at -7, four shots back.
Ochoa posted a 66 but stumbled with bogeys at 17 and 18 after the TV coverage ended. Gustafson carded a 68 marred only by a bogey at 15. McKay put herself in Sunday’s final group with her round of 67. Since no one outside the top four is closer than six strokes from the lead, I wouldn’t expect the winner to be anyone other than those four. Of course with Ochoa being in front, even McKay and Oh are long-shots. Sophie could be another story – she has the length to stay in Lorena’s vicinity all day, and if she keeps her putter working it could be a real shootout.
My cut prediction wound up missing by two – it rose at +4 at the very end of the day. Among the missing on Sunday will be Grace Park, Moira Dunn, Ai Miyazato and Michelle Wie. It’s not often you see somebody post a round in the 90s, but Nancy Lopez managed a 91. One quad, two triples, three doubles and four bogeys to go with one birdie and seven pars add up to +19. On the back nine alone she took 51 strokes.