Min poised for major breakthrough
South Korean teenager leads by one in LPGA Championship
Teenager HAVRE DE GRACE, Maryland • Na On Min is the third-round leader in the McDonald’s LPGA Championship. Who? The 18-year-old South Korean, who does not even hold a full card for the LPGA Tour, packed eight birdies into her round yesterday on the way to a dynamic 7-under-par 65 at Bulle Rock Golf Course and a one-stroke lead going into today’s final round of the second major of the LPGA season.
Min’s round was the lowest of the tournament, and it gave her a total of 10-under 206, one ahead of Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, the second-round leader who had a 71.
Brazil’s Angela Park (68) and Australia’s Karrie Webb (71) were tied for third at 208.
Morgan Pressel, the 19-year-old U.S. star who won the first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, is at 209 after a 70, while world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa of Mexico is not out of it, sitting five strokes behind after holing a monster birdie putt at the 18th hole for a 69.
This is only Min’s sixth LPGA event this season, although she showed her potential with a top-five finish in her debut at the Corona Championship in Mexico in April.
“I’m very proud of myself,” Min said. “This is the best day of my life.
“I don’t know how well I’ll sleep (last night). I was very nervous on the last two holes and I’ll probably be even more nervous (today), but I’ll just try to ignore the situation and hit a lot of good shots.”
Pettersen was three shots clear of the field after she birdied the second and fourth holes, and then recovered from a couple of bogeys with an eagle at the par-five 11th.
However, she dropped back with a double-bogey at the 13th, where she had to take a penalty drop out of deep rough.
The Norwegian rallied once more with a 20-foot putt for birdie at the short 17th to maintain hopes of a sec- ond victory this season. She recently won the Michelob Ultra Open.
Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, com- peting in her second tournament since coming back from a back injury, shot a one-over 73 and was in a group of five players at 212, six shots off the lead.
Sorenstam is looking for her fourth LPGA Championship title, which would tie her with Mickey Wright (1958, 1960, 1961, 1963) for the most wins at this event.
Sorenstam (2003, 2004, 2005) is the first LPGA player to win the same major championship in three consecutive years.
Michelle Wie survived the cut on the final mark, but the 17-year-old U.S. phenom’s troubled comeback from a five-month absence with a wrist injury continued with an awful thirdround 83.
At 14 over par and in last place among the 84 women left in the field, there was a chance she could pull out of the final round.
“I’ll see how my wrist is overnight and make my decision (today),” Wie said.
Charlottetown’s Lorie Kane, the only Canadian to make the cut after the second round, had a 76 yesterday and was well down the field at 223.