Saturday's golf: Mel Reid takes 2-shot lead in Cambia Portland Classic

Associated Press

Portland, Ore. — Mel Reid shot a 7-under 65 on her 33rd birthday Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over defending champion Hannah Green into the final round of the Cambia Portland Classic.

Reid closed her bogey-free afternoon round with a birdie on the par-4 18th at Columbia Edgewater. Winless on the LPGA Tour, the English player had a 12-under 132 total in the event reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality caused by wildfires.

“Put myself in a great position, a position that everyone wants to be in, so I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow,” Reid said. “Just keep doing the same thing and see where tomorrow afternoon takes us.”

Reid closed the front nine with four straight birdies and added another on the 11th. She's in position for her first victory a week after tying for seventh in the major ANA Inspiration in the California desert.

“I felt like I hit it really good last week, so kind of took that momentum going into this week,” said Reid, The three-time European Solheim Cup player with six victories on the Ladies European Tour. "“I think it did me a favor having an extra day off. I was pretty tired from last week.”

Green, tied with Cydney Clanton for the first-round lead after a 66, made a long birdie putt on the 18th for a 68.

“It was definitely slower than yesterday,” Green said. “I got off to such a great start, so always hard to back up a low round. Really happy with my last putt. Holed a long bomb there, so gives me another positive momentum for tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get the pace of the greens a little bit better and give myself opportunities.”

The 23-year-old Australian, also the major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner in a breakthrough 2019 season, matched the tournament 72-hole scoring record last year at 21 under.

Amy Yang (66) and Amy Olson (68) were tied for third at 9 under.

“I love being in contention. It’s so fun,” Olson said. “It’s what we play for, what we practice for.”

Georgia Hall (66), Celine Boutier (67), Yealimi Noh (69) and Gaby Lopez (69) were 8 under.

Clanton had a 77 to drop 11 strokes back at 1 under.

Sophia Popov was 4 under after a 69 in her first start as an LPGA Tour member. The German won the Women’s British Open, but missed the ANA Inspiration because the field was set in April when it was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reid postponed her birthday party a day.

“Celebrations will start tomorrow no matter what for my birthday.” Reid said. “I’ve got to be well behaved tonight and I was well behaved last night, which is shocking to many people.”

PGA Tour Champions

Jim Furyk wasted a fast morning start with a dismal finish Saturday at Pebble Beach in the second round of the PGA Tour Champions’ Pure Insurance Championship.

Ernie Els then missed a chance to build a big lead in the afternoon, giving Furyk a reprieve and letting Fred Couples and many others get into contention.

Trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bruce Fleisher as the only players to win their first two starts on the senior tour, Furyk followed his opening 8-under 64 with a 73 to drop two strokes behind leader Els — as close as he could have realistically hoped when he staggered off the 18th green.

“In a worst-case scenario I should be in shouting distance of the leaders tomorrow,” Furyk said at the time, with Els and the other afternoon players hours from finishing.

Furyk birdied the first two holes in the morning round and got to 12 under with two more on Nos. 6 and 7. Little went right after that. He dropped strokes on Nos. 8, 12 and 14, got one back with a chip-in birdie on 16, then closed bogey-double bogey.

“I’ve got a chance to go out and win a golf tournament, so I’ve got to look at the bright side and not dwell on 17 and 18,” said Furyk, The Ally Championship winner last month in Michigan in his tour debut.

Els shot a 70 to get to 9-under 135. He was even par through 14 holes with a birdie and bogey, then birdied the par-3 fifth and par-5 sixth to take the lead.

“It was pretty tough because we started on the back nine and the wind was really up, and playing the back nine in a north breeze, a lot of the holes were going into the wind and club selection got very tricky,” Els said. “A little scrappy today, but very happy to carve out a 70 and hang on to the lead.”

The South African star lost a playoff in his senior debut in Hawaii in January in the season opener, then won the Hoag Classic in March down the California coast in Newport Beach.

Dicky Pride was second at 8 under after a 70. Furyk was another stroke back with Couples (67), Retief Goosen (68), Cameron Beckman (72) and Stephen Leaney (72). Mike Weir had a 65 — the best round of the day to get to 6 under.

“There’s some really quality players and a lot of other players, so I can’t be looking at them,” Els said. “I know what I need to do. I need to play a really good, solid round of golf and if I do that, we’ll see what happens. It should be exciting.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is being played without spectators and juniors from The First Tee program. The amateur field was cut to 80.