She had just completed a battery of interviews in which she repeatedly told endearing stories about having her dad as her caddie and surviving surgery to correct scoliosis just five years ago.
Finally, she was free of her post-round commitments and a USGA official was ushering her out a side door and past a queue of adoring fans waiting for a shuttle bus.
You look 12 years old, a woman yelled with friendly envy.
Lewis didnt miss a beat. Hey, she said, thats not a bad thing.
Lewis may look younger than her years, but her golf game is all grown up. Saturday at Interlachen Country Club the 23-year-old Lewis needed just 23 putts and finished her round with a 23-hole bogeyless streak, longest in the field that is now chasing her.
Jordanesque numbers, to be sure.
And she really does look just 12 years old.
Moving day, meanwhile, turned out to be a moving day in the most literal sense. After late Friday and early Saturday storms moved through the Twin-Cities, temperatures cooled and the players suddenly got a stiff north breeze that they hadnt seen all week--not even in the practice rounds.
That wind is going to eat them up, predicted Jock Olson, Interlachens long-time Master Professional, early in the day. He was especially interested in how the women would handle the par 3 12th, which featured swirling conditions and a nasty, back left pin position.
I dont think were going to have any grass left on that tee box at the end of the day, Olson said. The players are picking it all up and tossing it in the air to see what its doing.
The third round also was the first time USGA course set-up guy Mike Davis moved the tee box up on the already short par 4 seventh. The hole plays as a right to left dogleg under any conditions. And the new wind was blowing right to left. So Davis tempted the women by moving to tee box up to 247 yards to the hole location.
Alas, there werent many fireworks there, in part, because the wind died down by the time the final groups got to the back nine. And the scores went down with it.
Lewis, who earlier this month helped lead the U.S. team to a Curtis Cup victory in Scotland, led the charge.
Tied for third, one back of Creamer are Swedish veteran Helen Alfredsson and Korean In-Bee Park.
I really dont whats going on, to be honest, Lewis said, looking ahead to Sundays final round. Im just going to try and smile.
Annika Sorenstam, playing in her last U.S. Womens Open before stepping away from the game at the end of the year, needed 32 putts Saturday. Add that to the 33 she took on Thursday and Friday and you get a very unhappy woman despite the fact that her 2-under total is still within hailing distance of the leaders.
Im just very, very disappointed because I think Im doing the right things and its just not happening, Sorenstam said when asked about her putting. But Im not giving up, Ill tell you that. Im not giving up hope yet.
Angela Park, who led after 36 holes, bogeyed the seventh, eighth and 12th holes thanks to problems with the sand, the sand and the water, respectively. She finished with a 2-over 75 and trails Lewis by five.
Lewis, by the way, will be the first women in the long history of this championship to win it in her first event as a professional if Sunday goes her way. No small feat.
Im going to try to play well and see what happens, she said.
Sounds like a plan.
Oh, by the way, the winds at Interlachen are forecast to howl between 20 and 30 miles per hour Sunday.
Might make it tough for anybody to smile.
Might make it tough to stick to a plan.
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