Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Steinhauer holds onto lead at LPGA State Farm Classic

AP , SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

US player Sherri Steinhauer watches her drive on the second hole during the third round of the LPGA State Farm Classic in Springfield, Illinois, on Saturday. Steinhauer leads by three strokes.

PHOTO: AP

Sherri Steinhauer birdied three of her last six holes on Saturday to hold onto the lead in the LPGA State Farm Classic, with defending champion Annika Sorenstam three strokes back with one rounds left.

Steinhauer, who also led after the first two rounds, had three birdies and two bogeys during an up-and-down round of 1-under 71 that left her at 12-under 204 on the Panther Creek Country Club course.

"I feel real fortunate with the finish," Steinhauer said.

"I got off to a very slow start," she said. "Actually, I feel like I hit the ball as well as the first two days, but through the first 10 holes, nothing. I didn't have any putts fall and just wasn't feeling quite as comfortable."

"I'm going to have to shoot a low round tomorrow, depending on the wind conditions, and I'm assuming it's going to blow but it's not going to howl or anything," she said. "I would assume that the scores are going to be low. ... It's up for grabs tomorrow."

Australia's Rachel Hetherington was a stroke back after a 67.

"It wasn't easy. The wind was up again today," Hetherington said. "And especially on the second nine holes. There are a lot of pin positions that are kind of tucked on the greens and you really couldn't hit it at the pin or close to the pin."

Christina Kim, coming off a second-place finish last week in the Safeway Classic, had a 71 to join Michele Redman at 10 under.

"So it was kind of tough out there," Kim said. "The greens were firmer. The pins were in some very difficult spots. But you know, I still went out and had a great time, had a great group, so it was a lot of fun."

The 42-year-old Redman made the biggest third-round move by shooting a 64.

Sorenstam, defending the last of her 69 career LPGA Tour titles, had a 71. She was at 9 under along with Becky Morgan (69). Sorenstam is playing her seventh tournament since returning from a ruptured disk in her neck.

"I hit the ball solid," Sorenstam said. "I had one three-putt there but other than that, I think the greens are firming up and tougher pin placements. I thought it was a little more difficult. If you were on the edge you didn't know if it would take a big bounce or little bounce. Sometimes coming out of the corner it was difficult and the pins were tucked today."

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