And while teen phenom Michelle Wie is not in the field, she wont be needed for drama this time when amateur Paula Creamer, 18, and newly turned pro Brittany Lincicome, 19, are paired together in the final group at 9:40 a.m. Friday. Both teens played today at Schalamar Creek Golf Club ' one hole apart ' and the pair turned up the heat on an already warm November day in Florida. Creamer fired a tournament-low score of 8-under-par 64, while Lincicome carded a 67. After 54 holes, the teens now lead the field by five shots at 207 (-9).
Paula was in front of me today, so I was watching her, said Lincicome, who is commuting to Lakeland each day from her home in Seminole, Fla. If she got a birdie, I knew Id better make one, too. Im looking forward to playing with her tomorrow because competing with really good players makes me play a lot better.
Creamer, who has an identical one-hour and 15-minute daily commute from her home in Bradenton, Fla., carded eight birdies and no bogeys in her round. She hit 17 greens and used 29 putts, showing no highway fatigue at the end of the day.
'It definitely required good course management,' said Creamer, who tied with Wie this summer as low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open. 'Today was fun. When you attack the golf course, you can make a lot of birdies.'
Lincicome carded five birdies of her own, with an eagle-3 on the par-5 fifth hole, where she hammered a downwind 140-yard 9-iron to 10 feet, then made the eagle putt. The big-hitting Florida teen, who was the solo first-round leader at this year's U.S. Women's Open, was four-under-par on three par-five holes.
'I took advantage of my length when I could and it helped a lot,' she said. 'But this course was shorter and tighter than the other two courses we're playing, so I hit a driving iron off the tee a lot today. Sometimes, when you take the driver out of my hands, I don't always know where the ball is going to go, but it worked out.'
Today's third round began with 251 players competing on three Lakeland courses at Schalamar Creek, Cleveland Heights Golf Course and Huntington Hills Golf & Country Club. Following the 54-hole cut of 227 (+11), 110 players will return to Cleveland Heights for Friday's final round.
Korean amateur Sae Hee Son (72) and former LPGA Tour member Kellee Booth of Coto de Caza, Calif. (70) are tied at 4-under-par 212, followed by LPGA member Jeanne-Marie Busuttil of Chantilly, France (73), alone at 213. Blair O'Neal of Tempe, Ariz., and Christi Cano of San Antonio, Texas, matched scores of 1-over-par 73 to tie at 214.
'The rough is so different here than the hardpan in San Antonio,' said Cano, 23, who played collegiately at Oklahoma State University.
Friday's final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Cleveland Heights only, from the first and tenth tees.