World No.1 Lorena Ochoa, in search of her first LPGA Tour victory since May, seized a share of the lead in the US$1.4 million Navistar LPGA Classic on Saturday.
The Mexican star carded a three-under-par 69 to join Swede rookie Louise Friberg at the top heading into yesterday’s final round.
Ochoa, 26, rallied after a bogey at the par-four first with birdies on three of the next four holes and finished the day at 13-under 203.
Ochoa’s only error on the back nine came when she bogeyed the par-four 14th as she put herself in position to claim her seventh title of the season but her first since she won the Sybase Classic on May 18.
Friberg had seven birdies in her seven-under 65 as she put herself in contention for her second US career win.
She won the MasterCard Classic in March.
“I think it’s great that she played that good, and I saw the leaderboard on 18 and it seems like she made a lot of birdies. Hopefully I make them tomorrow myself,” Ochoa said.
Friberg’s flawless round was highlighted by a torrid stretch in which she birdied six of nine holes from the third.
“Excited. Excited,” Friberg, who attended the University of Washington, said when asked about playing with Ochoa. “Whoever I’m going to play with tomorrow, it’s going to be exciting. I’m just excited to be in the top going into Sunday, no matter who is in the top with me. Obviously I have a lot to learn from watching Lorena play, but I also need to focus on my own game. So tomorrow, it’s about my game and hopefully having a good time out there.”
Halfway leader Janice Moodie of Scotland was among five players tied for third at 11-under 205.
Moodie was joined by Taiwanese rookie sensation Yani Tseng, Christina Kim, Kim Song-hee and Michele Redman.
Australian Sarah Jane Kenyon, Taiwanese Candie Kung and Jill McGill were tied for eighth at 10-under 206.
Taiwanese Teresa Lu shot a 70-68-75 for 213 and Amy Hung shot 72-72-75 for 219.