Andrea Lee carded a 5-under par 67 in the third round of the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic on Saturday to jump out to a one-stroke lead at 15-under 201. The total sets her career-best score through 54 holes as a professional.
After a sluggish start of 1-over through five holes at Sewailo Golf Club, the Stanford University alumna put together an eagle-birdie-eagle-birdie run to make the turn 5-under on the day. Her streak started with a hole out from the greenside bunker on No. 6.
“Caught fire there for a little bit. I knew I had some chances for birdie coming up,” Lee said with a smile. “It definitely jumpstarted the round and gave me confidence. Hit some good shots and stayed within the moment, so it turned out alright.”
Despite cooling off on the back nine and finding water off the tee at No. 18, Lee kept her composure.
“Stayed really patient and played steady golf,” said Lee. “Not a super smart move by me and my dad [who is caddying] off the tee to use driver. The wind picked up on the last hole and it was downwind. Pushed it a little right but had a good yardage for my third shot. I was really glad to end the round on a high note by making the putt for par.”
Lucy Li (67) and Dottie Ardina (69) share second at 14-under par. Despite a bogey-bogey finish, Li finds herself in contention with 18 holes to play. The duo rounds out Sunday’s final grouping off No. 1 tee at 9:01 a.m. PST.
“That was the only green [on No. 18] I missed the whole day. Great end to my round,” Li said laughingly. “On the last hole, I thought I was into the wind, but I guess it was downwind or something because I got a little unlucky there. It was nice to make a little tester for bogey.”
Ardina also felt the effects of blustery conditions down the stretch at Sewailo.
“It was pretty challenging the last five holes because the wind picked up,” said Ardina, who recorded a bogey on No. 12 and double bogey on No. 13 before rattling off three consecutive birdies. “I was just trying to stay positive and wanted to finish strong. A little fatigued. I’m going to keep most of what I’ve done the last three days going.”
Daniela Darquea fired a bogey-free, 6-under par 66 to climb into outright fourth place at -13, while two players are tied for fifth including Yue Ren (68) and Jessica Porvasnik (74), the 18- and 36-hole leader. Tournament sponsor exemption and amateur Abbey Schutte (71) shares 29th place, while Tucson native Krystal Quihuis (74) sits in a tie for 65th.
Daniela Darquea (-13, 4th) on a bogey-free, 6-under 66 and her renewed mentality:
“My ball striking hasn’t been what I expected, but my mental game is really strong right now. I’m going with what I have and make the best of what I do. Putting feels really good and I’m excited to play again tomorrow. It was really tough after losing my LPGA Tour card last year. It put me in a really bad spot, mentally. I feel more like myself now and am excited to be here, have the chance to keep playing golf. I am just so grateful I get to play and that’s what is making the difference.”
Jessica Porvasnik (-12, T5) on her 2-over 74 in the third round:
“Just a couple bad shots got me in some tough outs on the par 3s. Other than that, it was a solid round. I am content. It’s golf. I would much rather be in this position [of coming from behind]. It’s a little more relaxing and easier than trying to maintain the lead.”
Tucson native and tournament sponsor exemption Krystal Quihuis (E, T65) on playing the weekend:
“Competing on Sunday at Sewailo Golf Club, not to mention the Epson Tour is a tremendous confidence boost. After being at my low point and battling back last year, I feel confident in continuing this journey. I want to thank Laura Beuhring for giving me this amazing opportunity to compete at my home course. And I also want to thank all the staff at Sewailo for being huge supporters.”