Pettersen poised to repeat in Taiwan

Yang Mei, Taiwan ( - Defending champion Suzann Pettersen managed a 1-over-par 73 in difficult scoring conditions on Saturday to take a 4-stroke lead into the final round of the LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Pettersen, the second-ranked player in the world, sits at 6-under-par 210 through 54 holes at Sunrise Golf & Country Club.

"Today was a tough day for me," she admitted. "It was all about hanging in there and trying to bring it back to where I started."

Azahara Munoz fired a 3-under-par 69 to grab a share of second place at 2- under 214 alongside Carlota Ciganda and Sun Young Yoo, who both carded even- par 72s.

Caroline Hedwall (72) and Beatriz Recari (73) are tied for fifth place at even-par 216, while Na Yeon Choi (71), Se Ri Pak (69), Irene Cho (72), Eun-Hee Ji (69) and Jenny Shin (69) share seventh at 1-over 217.

Pettersen began the day with a 5-stroke lead, but her comfortable margin quickly shrunk when she bogeyed three of her first five holes.

"You know, I had a great warmup, felt good," she said. "On the second, I kind of made a little amateur mistake trying to get too cute on the tee ball and left myself with a very tough up-and-down. I just couldn't get it going and made a few errors."

Yoo then birdied the par-5 sixth to pull within a shot, but Pettersen righted herself from there, notching a birdie at the eighth, then parring four straight before recording another birdie at the 13th.

That run pushed Pettersen's lead to four and although she stumbled to a bogey at the 17th, the reigning champ recovered with a birdie at the last to retain the advantage heading into the final round.

"I could easily have lost it out there today," said Pettersen. "It was -- you know, some days are easy, some days are not that easy, some of the times you see everything you're going to do right in front of you. Other times you fall in-between clubs and are not quite sure and then you start questioning if it's enough, if you had enough -- if it's going to be too spinning. It's one of those days where you can be very analytic, and it's all in the conditions to be analytic. One more day in these conditions."

NOTES: Pettersen has finished in the top seven in seven straight tournaments and nine of the last 10, including two victories ... She was the only player in this week's 78-player field to record subpar rounds on each of the tournament's first two days ... Pettersen is seeking her 14th career LPGA Tour win.