Big Wiesy Shares Lead Annika Five Off Pace


2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Michelle Wie, 17-year-old amateur Morgan Pressel and reigning Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples are tied atop the leaderboard after three rounds of the U.S. Women's Open.
Wie, a 15-year-old amateur who finished second at the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, shot a 1-over 71 to join Pressel (70) and Stupples (69) at 1-over-par 214 Saturday at Cherry Hills Country Club.
Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie posted a 1-over 72 and shares the lead heading into the final round at Cherry Hills.
Annika Sorenstam's chances at the first-ever single-season Grand Slam are still alive. She overcame a missed 3-footer for par at three and a four-putt double-bogey at six to shoot a 2-over 73.
Sorenstam is tied for 16th place at 6-over-par 219.
Before anyone can count Sorenstam out of the championship, there is history on her side.
The last time the U.S. Women's Open was held in Colorado, at The Broadmoor in 1995, Sorenstam overcame a five-shot deficit on Sunday to earn her first LPGA Tour title.
Then there was the time she made up 10 shots in the final round to overtake Pat Hurst at The Office Depot Hosted by Amy Alcott in 2001.
Finally, it was at Cherry Hills in 1960 when Arnold Palmer fired a 65 on Sunday to win the U.S. Open. He trailed by seven after three rounds 45 years ago, so Sorenstam's task might be easier.
'I know what I have got to do then,' said Sorenstam. 'I am running out of holes, but I need to get off to a good start tomorrow. I need to climb on that leaderboard and show them I am still here and I am serious and we'll see. I don't think I am going to need a miracle round, but it needs to be good.'
There are some competitors much closer to the trio of leaders than Sorenstam.
Eighteen-year-old Paula Creamer, who won the Sybase Classic earlier this year, shot a one-over 72 and is tied for fourth place with Birdie Kim (69) and Young Jo (70). The group is knotted at plus-2.
If either amateur leader or Creamer moves on to the winner's circle Sunday afternoon, she will be the youngest player to win a women's major.
If Wie or Pressel gets the victory, they become the first amateur to take the title since Catherine Lacoste in 1967.
Wie began the third round two off the lead and did not get off to a great start. She missed a 7-footer for par at the second, then dropped another shot at the fourth.
She rebounded quickly with short birdie putts at the fifth and seventh to get back to even par for the championship. At the par-3 eighth, Wie landed in the left rough and made her only play, knocking it 15 feet past the hole. She missed that putt to fall back to plus-1 and two off the lead.
With the rest of the field coming back to Wie, the 15-year-old tied for the lead at 11. She hit a massive drive down the fairway at the par-5 hole, but came up short with her second. Wie chipped to 3 feet and converted the putt to get back to even par and take a one-shot lead.
Wie made par from the deep rough at 14, but she would not be as fortunate at 16. Her drive landed in the left rough and her second came up short and right of the hole, which was not in a good position. Wie pitched 30 feet beyond the hole and missed her par putt.
Despite the bogey coming in, Wie is in position to win the biggest event in women's golf.
'I haven't really thought about that yet,' admitted Wie. 'If I think about it now, I put a lot more pressure on myself. I am just going to play it the way I did today, just play one shot by shot.'
Pressel, who is actually the highest-ranked amateur in the country, made bogey at the second but closed with a pair of birdies on her front nine. She rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt at seven, then added another at from 4 feet at No. 8.
Pressel, who will be a senior in high school next year, bogeyed No. 10, but rebounded with a birdie at 11. Her chip skirted the left edge, but she settled for a tap-in birdie.
From there, Pressel parred in. Along the way, she holed several clutch saves, including a 12-footer at No. 16 and a 4-footer at the last.
Pressel has been near the lead all week, just like Wie. At times Pressel has wondered why she doesn't get the same attention as her younger opponent, but the 17-year-old knows one way to get more recognition.
'We're tied going into the last day and I mean, if I play well tomorrow I think I will get my share of attention,' said Pressel, who plans to attend Duke University. 'I am coming here to win. So to be in that top spot going into the last day, it really is exciting.'
Stupples is the old lady of the group, as she turned 32 on Friday. She got her piece of the lead thanks to an amazing run of birdies on the back nine.
She tallied three bogeys on her front side, then birdied the ninth. Stupples drove into the semi-rough at 10, but wedged her approach to 5 feet. The reigning Women's British Open winner got up and down out of a bunker for another birdie at 11.
At the par-3 12th, Stupples hit a 6-iron to 8 feet and converted her fourth birdie in a row. She drained a pair of 6-foot birdie putts at 13 and 14 to match Dottie Pepper's record for six consecutive birdies in a U.S. Women's Open round.
'Anything can happen out there,' said Stupples. 'To do it so many holes in a row kind of felt a bit unreal really.'
She could have gotten seven in a row, but came up woefully short on a 10- footer at the 14th. Stupples missed a 35-foot birdie try 4 feet short at the last, then missed the par putt to fall to plus-1.
Young Kim (70) and Angela Stanford (73) are tied for seventh place at plus-3. Jamie Hullett (70), Candie Kung (71) and Cristie Kerr (72) share ninth at 4-over-par 217.
Nicole Perrot, the surprising 36-hole leader, double-bogeyed her first hole on Saturday and never recovered. She stumbled to a 7-over 78 and is tied for 12th at plus-5.
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