Annika Takes Control Wie Five Back


2005 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam caught fire late in her third round on Saturday and that vaulted the Swede to the top of the leaderboard at the Samsung World Championship. She fired a 6-under 66 and completed 54 holes at 15-under-par 201 at Bighorn Golf Club.
Michelle Wie, who shot into contention with a 65 on Friday, struggled in Saturday's final group. She dropped three shots in her first three holes, but calmed down to shoot a 1-under 71.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie got off to a troubling start but was able to right the ship and sits in third place.
Wie is alone in third place at minus-10, one shot worse than Gloria Park, who carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday.
Wie three-putted the second green and made bogey. Things got worse on the next hole as the 16-year-old, who is making her debut as a professional this week, missed a 4-foot par save at three. She failed on her 3-footer for bogey and suddenly walked off with a double bogey.
The new pro cooled down and rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the sixth. Wie holed another birdie putt from that length at the 12th and clawed her way into third with some late birdies.
She birdied 15 and 17 and has a chance for a large paycheck the first time she can collect one.
Wie may be in good shape, but she will have to pull off an amazing feat to topple Sorenstam.
The No. 1 player in the world moved into a share of the lead with three consecutive birdies from the second, where she holed a 20-footer. Overnight leader Grace Park bogeyed six to fall one back, then Sorenstam blasted ou a bunker at seven to 5 feet. She made the birdie try and was two ahead, but things got ugly around the turn.
At the ninth, Sorenstam hit a 7-wood 60 feet left of the stick. She ran her birdie try 4 feet past the hole, then pushed her par putt.
Grace Park stopped being a threat when she made a complete mess of the par- 3 eighth and took quadruple-bogey. Sorenstam had the lead, but missed another shortish par putt at 11 and the advantage was only one.
She had 6 feet for birdie at 12, but the putt lipped out. Sorenstam made another routine par at 13 and posted her four-shot lead with some outstanding putting late in the round.
Sorenstam, the defending champion, ran home an 18-foot birdie putt at the 14th to move two clear. Her approach at 15 stoppght feet short of the cup, and she drained the birdie try.
Gloria Park got into the clubhouse at minus-11, so Sorenstam had a two-shot lead. But not for long, as the Swede converted a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th, her third in a row.
Sorenstam's 20-footer for birdie at 17 nearly fell in the hole, but stayed above ground. At the closing hole, Sorenstam nearly holed out, but the ball did not spin into the cup. She settled for a tap-in birdie and the lead heading into the final round for the 64th time in her career.
'I thought I played really well all day,' said Sorenstam, who has gone on to victory 43 times with the lead heading into the final round. 'I started really strong, had a little tougher stretch in the middle, but played really solid in the end.'
If Sorenstam visits the winner's circle on Sunday, not only would it be her eighth victory of 2005 and her 64th on the LPGA Tour, but the Hall of Famer would accomplish something she has never done before.
A win would be her fifth at the Samsung World Championship. Mickey Wright won the Sea Island Open five times and is the only player in LPGA Tour history to title at the same event five times.
'I'm looking forward to a great Sunday,' admitted Sorenstam. 'It was one of those days where I made some. I did miss a few, but that's to be expected. It feels good to finish better than yesterday.'
Cristie Kerr and Catriona Matthew are knotted in fourth place at 9-under-par 207. Both players managed rounds of 1-under 71 in the third round.
Pat Hurst (68), Marisa Baena (70), Sophie Gustafson (70) and Rookie of the Year and two-time winner this season Paula Creamer (73) are tied for sixth place at minus-8.
Grace Park ended up with a four-over 76 and shares 10th with Rosie Jones, who posted an even-par 72. The pair is knotted at seven-under-par 209.
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