Wie salvages round with late birdies

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LPGA Tour _newRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ' Michelle Wie salvaged a ragged round with a birdie-birdie finish to remain among the leaders after the third round of an LPGA sectional qualifying tournament Thursday.
 
Wies closing birdies gave her 2-over 74 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club, the home of the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
That left Wie at 7-under 209 entering Fridays final round. She was fourth and still comfortably inside the top 30 players and ties who will advance to the final qualifying tournament in Florida in December.
 
Wie again declined requests for interviews after the round.
 
South Koreas Sun-Ju Ahn and Anna Norqvist, a Swede who played at Arizona State, were tied for the lead at 12 under. Norqvist shot a third-round 67 with just one bogey, while Ahn had a 72 after opening the tournament with consecutive 66s.
 
Japans Miki Saiki was 9 under after a 70.
 
Wies was even par through seven holes. But she made a triple-bogey 6 on the eighth hole when her tee shot on the par 3 hooked left into trees and apparently lodged in the branches. After searching unsuccessfully for the ball, she again hit from the tee and the ball sailed into the trees, but this time it came out. She pitched on the green and two-putted.
 
Wie struggled with her tee shots throughout the round, hitting just six of 14 fairways and only one fairway on the back nine. But her short game kept her score lower than it might have been on the final nine, with just one bogey, on the par-4 12th.
 
She made a 3-foot birdie on the par-3 No. 17 and scrambled from behind a tree on the par-5 closing hole to make a 10-foot birdie.
 
Wies threesome in the final round will include Stacy Lewis, who tied for third in the U.S. Womens Open this year. Lewis was 5 under after a 70.
 
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