Kerrs Second 63 Overtakes Kim

By Sports NetworkSeptember 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 State Farm Classic SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Cristie Kerr fired her second 9-under 63 in as many days on Saturday to fly by Christina Kim into first place after three rounds of the State Farm Classic at The Rail Golf Course. Kerr stands at 21-under-par 195 and is four ahead of Kim.
Kerr's two-day total of 18-under-par 126 in the second and third rounds matched the second lowest 36-hole score in relation to par and the second lowest raw score. Annika Sorenstam put a pair of 63s together at the 2003 Mizuno Classic.
Kerr's 21-under-par 195 broke the former 54-hole record at the event. Pat Bradley established the old mark of 197 in 1991.
'It is quite a swing,' said Kerr. 'It's the result of being on top of your game and doing the little things well. I'm not trying to shoot this low. It'll take care of itself.'
Kim only managed a 1-under 71, but is alone in second place at 17-under-par 199. Jennifer Rosales, who held the 54-hole lead at this year's U.S. Women's Open, shot a 4-under 68 on in Saturday's third round and is third at minus-15.
Kerr wasted little time in breaking into red figures. She ran home a 15-footer for birdie at the second and made it two in a row with a 3-footer at the third. Kerr reached the green in two with a 7-wood at the par-5 fourth. She sank the 22-foot eagle putt to quickly cut into Kim's lead.
Kerr, a two-time winner this season, hit a lob wedge to 6 feet to set up birdie at the sixth and knocked a 5-iron to 18 feet at the par-3 seventh. She holed that birdie putt and made the turn at 6-under 30.
The 26-year-old collected her fifth birdie of the round at the par-5 12th. Kerr missed the green short and left, but chipped to 40 feet and made the long birdie putt. Kerr ran into trouble for the first time in the round at No. 13 when her drive landed in the rough. She missed the green right, then missed an 8-footer to save par.
Kerr quickly returned at the 15th when she reached the par-5 green in two with a 6-iron. She two-putted from 60 feet for birdie and drained a pair of 3-foot birdie putts at 17 and 18 to build her large lead.
'It all seems to run together when you're playing well,' said Kerr, who picked up her first win on tour two years ago. 'You have to be at peace and have a positive attitude and then go out and hit shots the way you want to hit them.'
Kerr will have one advantage Sunday and that is experience. Kim is 20 and in her second year on tour. Kim has yet to visit the winner's circle and Kerr has won in almost every fashion, whether it's a playoff, come from behind or with a lead.
'I don't know if it will necessarily make a difference with other players, but it will certainly make a difference for me,' said Kerr. 'I'll get a good night's sleep and not really think about it.'
Kim did not show any signs of relinquishing her lead early in the third round. She hit a wedge to 10 feet at the first and made birdie, then played a 9-iron to 3 feet to set up birdie at the third.
At the par-5 eighth, Kim ran her 45 feet birdie putt 7 feet past the stick. She missed the comeback putt and fell one behind Kerr. Kim missed several fairways and was unable to get the ball close. She parred Nos. 9-14, before a birdie at the 15th.
Kim hit a 9-iron approach long at the 18th and three-putted from the back of the green for a bogey and a four-shot deficit heading into Sunday's final round.
'If you can't hit a fairway, how do you expect to make birdies,' asked Kim. 'You miss the first cut and stand there and there is nothing you can do. It was a long day.'
Nancy Harvey (64), Mi Hyun Kim (66), Hee-Won Han (68) and Suzann Pettersen (69) are tied for fourth place at 13-under-par 203.
Lorena Ochoa, who won last week's Wachovia LPGA Classic, shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday and shares eighth place with Laura Diaz (68), Candy Hannemann (68) and Mikaela Parmlid (69). That group stands at minus-12.
Defending champion Candie Kung carded a 2-under 70 and is part of a group tied for 12th place at 10-under-par 206.
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