Annika Stalking the Top Spot in NY


CORNING, N.Y. -- Karine Icher of France posted a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take the lead through three rounds of the LPGA Corning Classic. She stands at 12-under-par 204 and leads by one over Hee-Won Han at Corning Country Club.
There was a nearly two-hour weather delay on Saturday, but the entire field completed their third round. Friday featured a four-hour delay that required several players finish the second round Saturday morning.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam sits just two shots back as they head into Sunday's final round at the Corning Classic in N.Y.
Han matched Juli Inkster's 2003 course record on Saturday with a 10-under-par 62.
'It was perfect. Everything was perfect,' said Han, whose 62 marked the lowest round in her LPGA Tour career. 'That was why I shot 10 under.'
In the rearview mirror for both Icher and Han is Annika Sorenstam. The No. 1 player in the game battled through illness to shoot a 3-under 69 on Saturday. She is alone in third place at 10-under-par 206.
'Right now I'm more concerned for how I feel tomorrow than how I'm going to play,' admitted the defending champion. 'Today I was a struggling out there. I haven't felt good all day. I haven't felt good the last three days, but today was the worst.'
Sorenstam broke into red figures early at the par-5 second. Her 5-iron approach nearly ran into the hole, but instead she two-putted for birdie from 15 feet.
She missed a 4-foot birdie putt at the fifth, and kept her par streak going until the par-5 12th. Sorenstam reached the green in two with a 4-wood, then two-putted again for birdie from 15 feet.
Sorenstam wedged her tee ball to 3 feet at the par-3 17th for her final birdie. She is two behind and could add her fifth victory of the 2005 season. It would be her second comeback win of the year.
'I'm two shots behind. I know what I have to do,' said Sorenstam. 'I'll be chasing tomorrow and keeping a close eye on everyone. I'm going to follow them and try to beat them by one or two.'
Sorenstam will chasing her former Solheim Cup teammate, Icher, a four-time winner on the Ladies European Tour.
Icher flew out of the gate in the third round with a 10-foot birdie putt at the first and a two-putt birdie from 21 feet at the second.
Play was halted after that, but Icher picked up another quick birdie at the fifth. She holed several crucial par putts around the turn, but Han caught her in the lead.
Icher made a 4-foot par putt at 16, then hit a spectacular iron shot to 3 feet at the 17th. She converted the birdie try to move one clear, but Icher had one addition hurdle to overcome if she wanted the 54-hole lead.
At the closing hole, Icher drove in the fairway, but her second hit a branch, bounced right and came up short of the green. She pitched to 9 feet and rolled in the downhill par save.
Now, she has to hold off one player who shot 62 to get back into the tournament and more importantly, the best player in the game.
'I know it's difficult, but to be focusing on my game is the secret,' said Icher. 'If I play against her, I'm done. I think she plays like this - focusing on her game and every shot and she doesn't care about the other player.'
Jimin Kang carded a 4-under 68 and is alone in fourth place at 9-under-par 207. Meena Lee also shot a 68 on Saturday and has sole possession of fifth at minus-8.
Dorothy Delasin (67), Sung Ah Yim (70) and Moira Dunn (71) are tied for sixth place at 7-under-par 209. Michelle Ellis (67) and Liselotte Neumann (69) share ninth at minus-6.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - LPGA Corning Classic

  • Full Coverage - LPGA Corning Classic