CAMARILLO, Calif. — Jodi Ewart Shadoff has played 245 times on the LPGA Tour and has never had a better chance of winning than today. She played bogey-free on Saturday for a 3-under 69 to maintain her four-stroke lead in the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
Ewart Shadoff birdied two of the front nine at the Saticoy Club, added another on the par-5 14th, then kept a clear card until the end.
She was 14-under 202, four strokes ahead of Paula Reto of South Africa, who won her first LPGA title last month in Canada.
“Probably the first time in my career to do that,” Ewart Shadoff said of the lead after each of three sets, starting with his 64 on Thursday. “Anyway, it’s a very good learning experience this week. Tomorrow will be a good learning experience anyway. Stick to my routine and hopefully a good result will come.”
Andrea Lee, who won her first LPGA Tour event at the Portland Classic three weeks ago, had a 66 and was tied for third place with Celine Boutier of France, who also had a 66, and the former champion British Open Women’s Hinako Shibuno (68).
There were low scores available, and Ewart Shadoff did enough to hold himself in prime position for a win that has lasted more than a decade.
Reto has played with the 34-year-old Englishwoman and knows what she will face.
“She plays very consistently, very hard, doesn’t bogey, so I’m going to have to try and do the same and just give myself opportunities, but try not to think about it, have fun and enjoy it too,” said Reto.
For most players, the challenge is having a good attitude on slower-than-usual greens. Lee finally made the adjustment on her round of 66. She said the key was to get a little more aggressive with the putts.
“The greens aren’t as fast as we normally play them,” Lee said. “You just have to get used to it and make sure the ball hits the hole to have a chance of making putts.”
Danielle Kang, who went to school across the Pepperdine foothills, had a 68 and was in the group six shots behind former US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso (68) and Xiyu Lin (70), who has three runners-up finishes this year in her attempt to win for the first time.
Kang made no secret of her frustration with the pace on the greens, saying it was so frustrating that she and Hye-Jin Choi (72) started gambling.
“I think the greens are so slow and I think they have to cut it,” Kang said. “I think the members are quite upset. They’ve been coming to me for four days, furious that the greens are playing so slowly. We both couldn’t get to the hole. Eventually we started playing the game of money and crushing putts. . That’s how we started to birdie the last three holes.”