Paula Creamer made two long birdie putts to pull away from the field yesterday in the SemGroup Championship in Broken Arrow, Okla., only to drop two shots on the closing holes for the third straight day to give her challengers a chance.
But that small group chasing her doesn't include the player everyone expected to see.
Lorena Ochoa, going for her record-tying fifth straight LPGA Tour victory, lost momentum with back-to-back bogeys and wound up eight shots behind, needing the best comeback of her career.
"I still think I can win," Ochoa said. "I think Annika [Sorenstam] won before coming from 10 shots behind. It could happen."
It doesn't look likely, even with Creamer still trying to figure out how to stop making bogeys with the finish line in sight. A three-putt on the 16th and a bogey from the bunker on the 18th gave her a 2-under-par 69 and a two-shot lead over Juli Inkster.
"When I was on the 15th green, my goal was to have a five-shot lead," Creamer said. "But I'm not going to complain."
Inkster, a 47-year-old with two daughters and seven majors, turned in a tournament-best 67 in more blustery conditions, ending her solid round with a 20-foot par putt on the 18th hole after trouble in the trees.
"I got myself in position to at least give it a run," Inkster said.
Creamer was at 3-under 210 and will play in the final pairing today with Inkster, at 212 the only other player under par.
Brittany Lang, who tied for second at the 2005 US Women's Open while still an amateur, had a 71 to finish at 1-over 214, with Angela Stanford (71) and Leta Lindley (72) another shot behind.
Ochoa closed with six pars for an even-par 71 and was at 5-over 218, putting her in unfamiliar territory. She has won five of her six tournaments this year by a combined 37 shots.
"We're looking at it from a different perspective," she said. "I'm going to be positive and hopefully do good [today]."
PGA - With Tiger Woods unable to defend his title following knee surgery, Anthony Kim shot a 6-under 66 to take a four-shot lead over Jason Bohn (72) and Heath Slocum (68) after the third round of the
Kim is at 13 under and as close as ever to his first PGA Tour win.
Kim passed Bohn, the second-round leader and his playing partner, by sinking a 9-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole. Kim added another birdie at No. 14, then navigated through the course's tough closing stretch with his best golf of the round.
After getting up and down for par on the 17th, Kim ripped a 324-yard drive on No. 18 and hit his second shot to 7 feet. He made the birdie putt and was the only golfer without a bogey on his scorecard and well ahead of one of the strongest non-major fields on the Tour.
"I feel like I'm ready," Kim said of trying to become the eighth golfer in his 20s to win this year, "but you never know."
Stewart Cink (65) and Dudley Hart (70) were at 8 under.
Cink is part of a field of big names with plenty of work to do today. Jim Furyk's 71 left him at 7 under with Geoff Ogilvy (69). Vijay Singh (70) and Fred Couples (69) were at 6 under. Phil Mickelson recovered from his two late double bogeys Friday to shoot 69 and was at 5 under with Adam Scott (66).
Champions - Nick Price moved a step closer to his first Tour victory, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the
Scott Simpson and Loren Roberts were tied for second after matching 66s.
European - Ignacio Garrido shot an even-par 72 to take a three-stroke lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez (67) in the Spanish Open in Seville.