Paula Creamer took bogeys on two of the last three holes on Saturday but still clung to a two-stroke lead over Juli Inkster after the third round of the LPGA SemGroup Championship.
Creamer fired a two-under par 69 to stand on three-under 210 after 54 holes while Inkster fired a 67 to stand on 212 as the only other player under par and joining Creamer in yesterday’s final pairing.
“Paula is hitting the ball very well and she is putting well,” Inkster said. “We will just see what happens. It’s a tough golf course. I am going to need to hit the ball better tomorrow to win.”
“I’ve got myself in position to at least give it a run,” she said.
World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, trying to match an LPGA record with a fifth victory in as many starts, was eight strokes off the pace in a share of sixth on 218.
“It would be something very sweet to do and I still have my hope,” Ochoa said. “I would like to be a little closer but I still think I can win. Annika won before coming from 10 shots behind. It could happen.”
The Mexican was four back of third-place American Brittany Lang with US veterans Leta Lindley and Angela Stanford on 215.
Creamer birdied the fourth and ninth holes and added two more on the 12th and 14th holes but gave those both back with bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes.
“I played decent out there. I putted really well, made some good long putts, which are kind of bonuses,” Creamer said. “But at the same time I missed a lot of fairways. It was just never really solid tee shots all day long.”
It was the second day in a row a late meltdown cost Creamer, who would be four strokes further in front had she parred the final three holes on Friday and Saturday.
“Unfortunately in the past two days I’m four over in the last six holes, so that’s not the very good. But tomorrow is another day,” Creamer said. “I could be three back or I could be five up. I’m still going to go out there with the same mindset I always have. I have to go out and finish the round.”
“That’s most important. It’s what’s happening at that moment and I need to really start staying in the present when I get to that point,” she said.
Creamer went back to the practice tee after her round to put in some work before the yesterday’s showdown with her childhood idol.
“The biggest thing for tomorrow is it’s probably not going to be as windy so I just have to go out and hit a lot of good irons at the beginning and kind of settle down into the round,” Creamer said.