Tseng and Sjodin showing the way at Kraft Nabisco
Yani Tseng and Karin Sjodin will lead the field into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Both stand at 9-under par 207 after 54 holes.
Playing in strong gusty winds most of the way, Sjodin carded a 4-under par 68 on Saturday to put herself in position to win the first title in a professional career that dates back to 2006
Tseng, battling the same winds, came in a few minutes later with a 1-under par 71.
Haeji Kang sits alone in third place at 209 after finishing with a 72. A group of five players at 6-under par 210 includes Hee Kyung Seo, Eun-Hee Ji, I.K. Kim, Na Yeon Choi, and Sun Young Yoo. Katherine Hull, Vicky Hurst, and Se Ri Pak are all at 207.
Sjodin, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, has recorded just three top-10 finishes in her career. Her best effort in a major prior to this week was a tie for 19th at the 2010 LPGA Championship.
But she sailed her ship between the winds, which blew at a steady 18-20 miles per hour most of the day with gusts as high as 30 miles per hour. The winds were particularly difficult late in the day when the lead groups were on the golf course.
Sjodin recorded three birdies on the front side, before going one under on the back.
“This is where you want to be,” she said. “The day was kind of smooth, it felt like. I was never in any trouble, apart from one hole where I hit two bad shots. I guess it's good to make them on the same hole, but it was nice and smooth out there.”
Sjodin said the key to her round was keeping her ball in the fairway, which has been an issue for her in the past. “I seem to hit it very straight this year compared to in the past,” she said, “and the rough here is usually very, very punishing, so I think it's been tough for me to play well here because of that and also the fast greens when I haven't had perfect speed on them.”
Tseng went out in 1-under par 35 and birdied the 10th from close range but her putter betrayed her after that. She bogeyed the 11th, 13th, and 15th. A birdie at the 17th enabled her to finish the back side in even par.
“Actually the front nine I played very solid,” she said, “especially under this wind, and I don't think it was as tough as I thought because maybe I already prepared for wind like this. So I mean I just hit lots of good shots today, but on the back nine I think I was kind of thinking too much, wasn't trusting as much as I do on the front nine.”
Tseng will be trying for her 16th LPGA win on Sunday and her sixth major championship. She won this tournament in 2010.
Sunday’s start has been pushed back to allow crews time to clear debris off the course that was left there by Saturday’s high winds. As a result the players will be grouped in threesomes for the first time all week.Written by Rick Woelfel
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