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Sorenstam Sets New 54-Hole Course Record

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Annika Sorenstam is doing her best to defend the first of five titles she captured in 2000. In wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour she shot an error free third round of 5-under-par 67 to finish in the lead by two at 16-under-par 200. In the process she set a new 54-hole course record.
 
Chris Johnson set the old 54-hole record of 15-under-par 201 in 1991. Johnson went on to win the tournament that year and Sorenstam will be hoping to do the same.
 
'Today was good for me,' the third round leader said. 'I knew it was going to be cold today and was all prepared. My goal was to focus on my own game and hit every shot and not look around at what else was going on.'
 
Sorenstam shot even par through the first six holes of the day. Then, on the par-4 seventh, the birdies began to flow.
 
After carding two birdies on the front side, Sorenstam made the turn at 13-under-par. She was in sole possession of the lead but both Pak and Hanna continued to challenge that lead throughout Sorenstam's round. Birdies the 12th and 13th brought her to 15-under and insured a comfortable two shot cushion over Se Ri Pak and early round leader Jen Hanna.
 
Sorenstam's final birdie of the day came on the last, the 458-yard, par-5 18th. She hit a beautiful second shot to within eight feet of the pin and missed an eagle opportunity by two-putting the hole. 'I read it from both sides, looked at Jen's putt and saw it broke right, but said to myself that I didn't see anything,' Sorenstam said right afterwards.
 
'I've got a lot of good players to deal with tomorrow,' the former Wildcat said. ' It's far from over. Tomorrow is when it really starts. It's going to be a fight tomorrow, which is what I want. That's what makes the game so much fun.'
 
Se Ri Pak started the day four strokes off the lead and quickly made birdie on the par-5 third. She proceeded to card two more birdies on the front side temporarily taking the outright lead.
 
Despite a bogey on the par-3 8th, she managed to make the turn tied for the lead with defending champion Annika Sorenstam and Jen Hanna. Then Pak made her second bogey of the day on the 11th to fall off the lead. After that she lost momentum.
 
Birdie on the 13th moved her back to 13-under-par where she would stay for the next three holes. Heading to the 16th tee at 13-under-par, Se Ri was running out of opportunities to catch Sorenstam's lead. She carded a final birdie on the 17th to finish at 5-under-par 67 for the day and 14-under-par 202 for the tournament.
 
Jen Hanna just didn't have what it took to hold on to the lead she had clamed during the first two rounds. 'Well, I had some bogeys today,' the 24-year-old said. 'The biggest difference was that I was a little shaky with my putter. The last two days, when I stood over the putt, I saw it going into the hole. I just wasn't as solid with that club today.'
 
Hanna fell off the lead but isn't out of the race. She is in sole possession of third place at 13-under (203) after shooting even par 72 today. 'I'd rather be leading after tomorrow that today,' Hanna said. 'I don't think Annika got too far ahead, but I know she'll be going all out tomorrow.'
 

NEWS & NOTES
Caddie/writer Tom Hanson had to call a two-shot penalty on his own player, Sue Ginter, after she grounded her club in a bunker on the second hole of the day.
 
Se Ri Pak has had only one top-10 finish in the first quarter of the last three years. Ironically, her one and only top ten came right here at last year's Welch's/Circle K Championship where she finished tied for fifth place.
 
Sorenstam has won 14 times after holding the lead going into the final round.