Annika Wie Close in on Jang


04 Weetabix WomenSOUTHPORT, England -- Jeong Jang posted a 3-under 69 on Saturday to extend her lead through three rounds of the Women's British Open. She stands at 13-under-par 203 and is five ahead of Annika Sorenstam and Cristie Kerr at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam's Saturday 66 earned her a place in the final group on Sunday.
Sorenstam, who is looking for her third major championship of the year, fired a 6-under 66, while Kerr, who has yet to hoist a major trophy, shot a 3-under 69. The duo is knotted at minus-8.
Amateur sensation Michelle Wie carded a 5-under 67 and is tied for fourth place with 18-year-old, two-time winner this year Paula Creamer (65), Sophie Gustafson (67), Young Kim (67) and Liselotte Neumann (68). The group is knotted at 7-under-par 209.
Jang held a four-shot lead to start Saturday's third round, which was played under sunny skies. Thursday's action featured a long weather delay, but Saturday was perfect for scoring conditions.
Jang struggled out of the gate when she drove right at the first hole. She was forced to punch out to the fairway, then hit her wedge to 30 feet. Jang two-putted for a bogey, but that would be the last miscue for some time.
At the third, Jang hit an 8-iron to 6 feet to set up birdie. She made it two in a row at the par-3 fourth, when her 5-iron stopped 3 feet from the hole.
She took advantage of the next par-3, the 155-yard seventh. Jang hit an 8-iron to 4 feet and converted the birdie putt to make the turn at 3-under 32.
Sorenstam, who won this title in 2003 to complete the career Grand Slam, moved up the leaderboard with a pair of birdies on the front side, both from 20 feet.
The Swede rolled in a pair of 6-footers for birdie at 12 and 14, then used her length to close out her round. Sorenstam came up short of the green with a 4-wood at the par-5 17th, but chipped to 7 feet and drained the birdie putt. She knocked a 7-wood long and left at the par-5 closing hole, but again saved birdie.
Sorenstam got in the clubhouse at 8 under par and Jang made her second big mistake of the round. At the 149-yard, par-3 12th, Jang left a 7-iron in the bunker short of the green. She blasted out, but two-putted for a bogey and now owned a four-shot lead over the game's best player.
Jang remained calm. She parred 13 and 14, then birdied the par-5 15th to increase her margin to five. Jang had a 10-foot birdie look at the 18th, but came up short.
All totaled, Jang has a five-shot lead over Sorenstam. Jang admitted that she will have some butterflies come Sunday, but has a game plan on how to win not just her first major title, but her first LPGA Tour event.
'Just keep playing my golf and think about the golf course and not think about Annika,' said Jang. 'I like playing with Annika. It's more fun. I think maybe tomorrow, playing with Annika, or just the leaders, that makes me nervous a little bit. I'll be nervous leading tomorrow, not Annika.'
But Sorenstam has a chance for major No. 3 this year on Sunday. She captured the Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship earlier in 2005, and would like to end the major season with another triumph.
Although, she will have to make up some ground.
'I've come from behind before, so I think anything is possible,' said Sorenstam. 'I think tomorrow I'm just going to mind my own game, play the way I did today and see what happens. She's in a new position, she has not won before, it's a major, I know what it's like.'
Sorenstam is not alone in second place. Kerr, the top-ranked American and fourth on the LPGA Tour money list, played horribly early with a pair of bogeys in her first two holes.
She rebounded with a 5-foot birdie putt at the fourth and added a pair of birdies on her front nine. Kerr hit an 8-iron to 4 feet to set up birdie at the 12th, then sank a 10-footer at the last to join Sorenstam at minus-8.
'I like my position,' said Kerr, who has two top-10s in majors this year. 'I'm just going to go out and try to play well and put some pressure on the leaders and hopefully it will go my way.'
Defending champion Karen Stupples worked her way back into the tournament on Saturday. She fired a 7-under 65 and is tied for ninth place with Juli Inkster (68), Karrie Webb (69), Carin Koch (66) and Pat Hurst (70). The group came in at 6-under-par 210.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Weetabix Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage - Weetabix Women's British Open