Ochoa Again in Position for First Win


04 Franklin American Mortgage Champ.FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Lorena Ochoa carded her second consecutive, 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead of the Franklin American Mortgage Championship. She stands at 12-under-par 204 at the Ironhorse Course at Vanderbilt Legends Club.
Ochoa shared the third-round lead with Cristie Kerr last week at the Michelob Ultra Championship, but shot an even-par 71 and was overcome by Se Ri Pak. Ochoa, a collegiate standout expected to make a big splash on the LPGA Tour, now has another opportunity for victory No. 1.
'I have been very consistent and been in the top 10 and that's what I've been trying to do,' said Ochoa. 'I'm ready and prepared, and I've learned a lot. I'm not going to change my plan because I have been doing good so far.'
Mi-Hyun Kim fired her lowest round of the year on Saturday with an 8-under-par 64. She is tied with 36-hole co-leader Pat Hurst, who shot a second-round 68, at 11-under-par 205.
The second round was completed Saturday morning after darkness forced the suspension of play on Friday. After overnight rain, play was contested under lift, clean and place.
Ochoa struggled on the front side with an even-par 36. She got rolling on the back nine with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 10th, which pulled her one shot from the lead.
She canned a 7-footer for birdie at 11 and made it three in a row with a 6-footer at the 12th. That birdie tied her with playing partner Hurst atop the leaderboard.
At the 14th, Ochoa sank a 12-foot birdie putt. She birdied No. 15 to go ahead by two, but Kim and Hurst both birdied 18 to shrink Ochoa's margin to a single stroke.
'I'm extremely happy with the way I finished,' said Ochoa. 'I didn't play the way I wanted to with the bogeys and being even on the front, but I got going on the back.'
Kim was flawless on Saturday with five birdies on her front nine. She ran home a 10-footer for birdie at the 14th, then sank an 18-footer for her second straight birdie at the 15th.
Kim got into the clubhouse at 11 under par thanks to her play at the par-5 closing hole. She knocked a wedge 18 feet from the hole and drained the birdie putt for her 64.
'I didn't have a birdie yesterday, so after the second round I didn't practice because I wanted to lose my bad feel,' Kim said. 'I just ate a lot and didn't think about golf.'
Hurst landed in a bunker at the seventh, but blasted out to 12 feet and holed the birdie putt. She converted a pair of birdie putts inside 10 feet at nine and 11, then birdied 18 to get within one of Ochoa's lead.
'I played pretty good,' said Hurst, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. 'I was just hitting it pretty close and making putts. I'm just trying to go out and play and make as many birdies as I can.'
Wendy Ward shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday and is alone in fourth at minus-10. Stacy Prammanasudh also posted a 4-under 68 and has fifth to herself at 9-under-par 207.
Dorothy Delasin only managed a 1-under 71 but has sole possession of sixth place at 7-under-par 209. She is one ahead of Liselotte Neumann, who carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday.
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