Annika Builds Big Lead at Bulle Rock


2005 McDonaldHARVE DE GRACE, Md. -- Annika Sorenstam posted a 3-under 69 in Saturday's third round to move five strokes clear of the field at the McDonald's LPGA Championship. Sorenstam stands at 12-under-par 204.
Sorenstam's total of 204 tied the 54-hole tournament scoring mark set by Patty Sheehan in 1984. Sorenstam, who won the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, is on pace to win the season's second major.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam is on the verge of winning her ninth major title.
If Sorenstam goes on to win, she would be the first player to win the season's first two majors since Pat Bradley in 1986. With a win, Sorenstam would also become the first player in LPGA Tour history to win the same major championship three straight years.
'I think they all have a great meaning,' Sorenstam said, referring to the majors and her goal of winning the single-season grand slam. 'I know where my goals are in the back of my mind, but tomorrow it's a tournament I'm in good shape to win, and I'm going to try to downplay it and go from there. It's a really long ways to go, even for tomorrow, and also for the rest of the year.'
Young Kim carded her second straight 4-under 68 and stands alone in second place at 7-under-par 209. Amateur star Michelle Wie shot 71 to move into a tie for third at minus-5. Wie was joined there by Moira Dunn, Jeong Jang, Natalie Gulbis and Laura Davies, the 1994 and 1996 champion.
Sorenstam was hot on the front nine and her lead grew as high as six strokes. The Swede birdied the first, but stumbled to a bogey at the next as her lead dropped from four to two shots.
The two-time defending champion rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt at the fourth to move three ahead of Kim. Sorenstam drained consecutive birdies from the sixth to climb to 12 under and a five-shot cushion.
Sorenstam parred her next two holes, but saw her lead move to six strokes as Kim bogeyed the 10th. Sorenstam two-putted for par on the first three holes of the back nine.
She found the right rough off the tee on the 13th at Bulle Rock Golf Course and that led to her second bogey of the round.
Sorenstam, who has won five of her seven starts this season, parred the next two holes to lead by four heading to the final three holes. She knocked her second shot to 5 feet at the 16th and sank that birdie attempt.
The eight-time major champion came right back with a birdie from 6 feet out at the 17th to get to 13 under. Sorenstam, however, stumbled to a bogey at the last to finish five clear of Kim.
'I'm very happy with the position I'm in, and to come here and tee off on Sunday with a five-shot lead is really an excellent position,' said Sorenstam. 'I'm very happy the way I played the last three days. Then again, nothing is over until it's over. I have had a five-shot lead before and lost it.'
Playing in just her seventh major, Kim parred her first two holes, but she went soaring up the leaderboard from there. The South Korean birdied the third, then holed out for eagle on the fourth.
The 25-year-old came right back with a birdie on No. 5 to get to 7 under and within two of Sorenstam. Kim tripped to a bogey at the sixth, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on seven.
Kim stumbled to a bogey on the 10th, came back with a birdie at the par-4 14th to get back to minus-7, and then parred in to end there.
Davies, the 1994 champion, struggled with three bogeys over her first five holes. She did, however, birdie the fourth. The Englishwoman got one stroke back with a birdie on eight, but a double-bogey at the ninth dropped her nine shots out of the lead.
The 41-year-old came back with birdies at the 10th and 11th. Davies dropped in birdies on 14 and 15 to get back to minus-8. However, she faltered to a bogey on 16 and a double-bogey at the last to end in a tie for third.
'I got back in it on 16, but that was it,' said Davies. 'We made our move there. Annika had two late birdies, and then the double-bogey at the last was irrelevant really, because you probably can't win now unless Annika does something very unusual. It's a race for second place now.'
Marisa Baena and Lorena Ochoa share eighth place at 4-under-par 212. Jenny Rosales, Cristie Kerr, Carin Koch and Meena Lee are one stroke further back at minus-3.
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