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Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2004

Ochoa, Kerr tied atop LPGA event

Windy conditions keep scores near par

May 9, 2004

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— A swirling wind made par a good score Saturday on the River Course at Kingsmill, bunching up the field and leaving the tournament wide open for the final round at the Michelob Ultra Open.

"I was picking up the grass and throwing it. It will come down this way," said 14-year-old Michelle Wie, indicating a zigzagging flight pattern. "I was like, 'That doesn't tell me anything."'

On a day when only five players shot under par, Lorena Ochoa and Cristie Kerr grabbed the lead at 7-under 206. Ochoa shot the day's best round, a 3-under 68, and Kerr had a 70 after a finishing with a bogey.

Kerr, who launched a Birdies for Breast Cancer campaign just last week, said her mother had breast cancer last year and winning today "would be a perfect way to tell her I loved her on Mother's Day."

Ochoa closed with a winding 40-foot par putt on the par-4 18th.

"As soon as I hit it and it started turning right, you knew it was in," she said. "I am going to sleep much better now with that stroke."

Second-round leader Kim Williams, a non-winner in 16 years on tour, lost a four-stroke lead in the first 11 holes and followed an event-record 63 with a 78 that included seven bogeys.

Wie, playing on a sponsor's exemption, struggled with her accuracy, but repeatedly showed a deft touch around the greens and battled for a 2-over 73. She was six back in a tie for 16th at 1-under 212.

"Today it was kind of an adventurous fun, (like) you are living life on the edge," Wie said of her constant scrambling. "It's like saving yourself from the mouth of an alligator every time, and it's pretty fun."

Christina Kim, four shots behind Williams at the start of the round and playing with her in the last group, shot a 73 and was two off the lead at 5-under 208. Williams and Jennifer Rosales (73) were three shots back.

Rosales won her first career tournament last week, while the 20-year-old Kim is in just her second year on tour. Her best finish is a tie for fourth.

"I just tried to stay patient and just tried to keep a smile on my face because I have come to realize if I enjoy myself I tend to play better," Kim said.

Contenders also included Hall of Famer Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak, who were four back at 3 under, and Annika Sorenstam, another shot back.

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