Sorenstam Sizzling at Safeway

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PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Annika Sorenstam shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to take the outright lead after the third round of the Safeway PING. Sorenstam finished 54 holes at 18-under-par 198, two shots clear of Patricia Meunier-Lebouc.
 
'I'm very happy and I think my scores are going in the right direction,' said Sorenstam. 'I feel more comfortable every day. I'm very, very pleased.'
 
Sorenstam has shown no signs of rust in her return to the LPGA Tour this week. The Swede was part of a four-way tie for the lead after the second round and jumped out of the gate on Saturday with three birdies over the first four holes at the Championship Course at Moon Valley Country Club.
 
She found trouble with a bogey at the fifth but recovered with a birdie at the very next hole and reached 15-under with a birdie at the eighth.
 
Sorenstam bogeyed the 10th but countered again with a birdie at the par-3 11th after her tee shot stopped nine feet from the cup. She birdied the 13th and hit her tee shot to five feet for birdie at the par-3 15th to take sole possession of first.
 
The 32-year-old padded her advantage with a birdie at the 17th and stands 18 holes away from redemption. Last year at this event, Sorenstam carried the lead into the final round but struggled with a 76 and lost an eventual playoff to Rachel Teske.
 
'I feel very good about my game,' said Sorenstam, who fired a 59 in the second round here in 2001 en route to a victory. 'I'm going to have positive thoughts tomorrow and try to play the best I can and not going to obviously change too much because I'm happy the way I'm playing.'
 
Meunier-Lebouc held her own while competing alongside the top player in the world. She opened with four birdies on the front nine to make the turn at 15-under and took the lead with a birdie at the 10th.
 
The 30-year-old held a two-shot edge over the field after a birdie at the 12th but struggled down the stretch. Meunier-Lebouc bogeyed the 14th and dropped another shot at the 17th. She ended her round on a bright note, however, with a birdie at the last for a 67.
 
'I knew I had to make this one to be in the last group again,' Meunier-Lebouc said of the birdie at 18. 'I quite enjoy playing with Annika. She's so good to play with, you know.'
 
Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb, who shared the second-round lead with Sorenstam and Meunier-Lebouc, each carded rounds of 68 to finish at 15-under-par 201 along with Grace Park.
 
Hee-Won Han fired a 6-under 66 to finish five shots off the lead at 13-under-par 203. Beth Daniel was one stroke further back at 12-under-par 204.
 
LPGA Tour rookie Lorena Ochoa collected eight birdies on her round for a 64. The 21-year-old was joined by four-time Safeway PING winner Laura Davies, Dorothy Delasin and Catriona Matthew at 11-under-par 205.
 
Laura Diaz and Sherri Turner share 12th place at 10-under-par 206.
 
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