Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall moved into position Saturday to win her first LPGA title at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China.
If she’s going to do so, however, she’ll have to get past Rolex world No. 1 Stacy Lewis. The American looks determined to leave Beijing in a better mood after a frustrating loss a year ago.
Hedwall shot a 5-under-par 68 in the third round, moving into a tie for the lead with Lewis (72) at 13 under at Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club. They’re two shots ahead of American Brittany Lang (72) and South Korea’s Mirim Lee (70).
Lewis took a one-shot lead to the last hole in Beijing a year ago, only to see China's Shanshan Feng beat her with an eagle at the 72nd hole.
World No. 2 Inbee Park made a move Saturday. She didn’t just get herself in the hunt for her third LPGA title this year, she moved into position to overtake Lewis for the No. 1 ranking. Park’s third-round 68 moved her three shots off the lead along with Germany’s Caroline Masson (71). Park, who is getting married later this month, can get to No. 1 Sunday if she wins while Lewis finishes solo third or worse.
Norway's Suzann Pettersen (70) is among four players just four shots back.
Hedwall, 25, has won five Ladies European Tour titles. With her success overseas, and her dominant Solheim Cup efforts, she’s considered Europe’s next LPGA star in waiting, but she has yet to break through and win on the American-based tour. She’s in her third LPGA season.
“The last couple days has kind of had the Solheim Cup feel to it,” Lewis told reporters in China.
A year ago, Lewis watched Hedwall’s dynamic effort help lead the Europeans to a rout of the Americans at the Solheim Cup in Colorado. Hedwall became the first player in Solheim Cup history to go 5-0.
“Brittany and I were talking about it today out there when we were watching Caroline putt,” Lewis said. “Just kind of reminded us of Solheim.”
Hedwall said she was inspired watching the European men win the Ryder Cup last week.
“It just motivated you a lot,” Hedwall said. “It's such a great atmosphere, so you really want to step up your game and make sure that you make it on the Solheim Cup for next year.”
Hedwall’s best finish in an LPGA event is third place. She did that three times a year ago.
“I feel very comfortable in my game and confident,” Hedwall said. “I'm just going to stay patient. Hopefully, I can win tomorrow. That's kind of one of my biggest goals for this year and my career, is to win on the LPGA.”