Hurst Regains the Lead Heading Into Final Round


Pat Hurst shot a 2-under-par 70 to regain her place atop the leaderboard in Saturday's third round of the Electrolux USA Championship. Her three-day total of 11-under 205 matched her 54-hole score from last year's inaugural event, which she went on to win by four strokes.
'I am not hitting the ball as well as I have been, well obviously as well as the 64 during the first round,' Hurst said. 'I pushed through today and made it through so now we will just see how goes tomorrow.'
Catriona Matthew of Scotland carded a 69 Saturday over the Ironhorse Course at the Legends Club of Tennessee. She shares second place with Swedish sensation Annika Sorenstam, who turned in a 70 to remain a shot back of Hurst at 10-under-par 206.
'I'm in a great position,' said Sorenstam, who has won 10 of her 28 LPGA titles in come-from-behind fashion. 'Being in contention and having a chance to win on Sundays -- I'm happy about that I think I need a good nights rest and come out tomorrow.'
The red-hot Sorenstam has posted five victories in her last six starts and can reach the $1 million mark in earnings for 2001 with a win on Sunday.
But first she will have to get past Hurst, who is still smarting from her third-place finish a month ago at The Office Depot in Los Angeles. Hurst surrendered a six-shot lead with 10 holes to play in the final round of that event, leaving clubhouse leaders Sorenstam and Mi Hyun Kim of Korea to decide the winner in extra holes. Sorenstam outlasted Kim in the playoff for her fourth straight win of the season.
'You know I think learned a lot in L.A. this year and now I just know that I am going to out and play the best I can,' said Hurst, who is looking for her fourth LPGA title. 'Tomorrow I am just going to play my own game. I play aggressive. I played defensive that week and that was one thing there that I learned.'
After carding all pars on her first nine holes, Hurst made it to 2-under Saturday with a 14-foot birdie putt at the second and a 35-footer at the sixth. Although she hit her third shot in the bunker at the par-5 7th and couldn't get up and down to save par, Hurst bounced back from the bogey with an 8-iron to eight feet for birdie at the ninth hole.
Matthew, who notched her breakthrough victory at the Hawaiian Ladies Open in February, found trouble out of the gate with a three-putt for bogey at her second hole -- the par-4 11th. She was mistake-free the rest of the way as she racked up four birdies, including a 20-footer at the 14th.
Sorenstam collected three birdies against one bogey on Saturday.
Tracy Hanson, who shot 67 for the lead on Friday and still owned the top spot when the weather-suspended second round was completed Saturday morning, turned in a 1-over 73 in round three. She dropped into a tie for fourth at 9-under with Scotland's Mhairi McKay, who had a 71.
LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster is among seven players four shots off the lead at minus-seven.
A total of 13 players were left on the course when play was suspended Saturday due to darkness. They will return to complete the third round Sunday morning prior to the start of the final round.
Full-field scores from the Electrolux USA Championship