The Swede shot a 4-over 77 Saturday and is 1 over for the tournament, trailing Lorena Ochoa after three rounds at the wind-swept Women's British Open at St. Andrews.
A winner of 10 majors, including the 2003 Women's British Open at Royal Lytham, Sorenstam managed to stay patient amid 35 mph wind at the Old Course.
'I would think these were the toughest conditions in a major, maybe ever,' Sorenstam said. 'It's tough to drive, tough to hit irons, tough to putt.'
Ochoa shot a par 73 and leads at 6-under 213, the only player under par for the tournament. She's trailed by Linda Wessberg (72), one of only three players to finish under par on the day.
Sorenstam joins three players tied for third at 1-over 220 -- Maria Hjorth (72), Jee Young Lee (75) and Karine Icher (77).
Still recovering from back and neck injuries, Sorenstam watched her play improve later in the round.
'I was just trying to be smart, hit fairways, hit greens and go from there,' she said. 'I think I did well. I believe I shot level-par the last 10 or 11 holes. I'd take that any time in a championship like this.
'I just didn't get off to a good start.'
Sorenstam bogeyed four of the first seven holes before settling down in the last 11 holes. She had her only birdie of the day at the 17th with a 15-foot putt -- the only sizable one made all day.
'It's just tough. My hair is all over the place,' Sorenstam said. 'I'm playing really well, I'm swinging well. On links courses like today, you just can't get upset because once the ball leaves the club face it's out of your control. It really is. You just have to keep on trying and keep on going.'
Putting in the erratic wind seemed to be a problem, but Sorenstam was happy with her form on the greens.
'You just need to get a few to drop and then you get the momentum and you're off and running,' said Sorenstam, who had rounds of 72-71 the first two days.
Sorenstam appeared annoyed to miss a 4-foot par putt at the 16th.
But she made the 15-foot birdie putt at the 'Road Hole' 17th after her approach shot came to rest on a patch of grass between the path and the road and her pitch flew past the hole.
'I think this course is tough enough, but with the wind and trying to get it close, it's tougher,' Sorenstam said. 'I had a lot of 40-, 50-footers after hitting good shots. I hit shots that I felt were good.
'That's what makes this golf course so difficult.'