Sherri Steinhauer fell behind for a while but recovered to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the State Farm Classic. Rachel Hetherington is second at -11 with Michele Redman and Christina Kim tied for third at -10. Annika Sorenstam and Becky Morgan are tied for fifth at -9.
Through 12 holes, Steinhauer was +2 on the day and -9 overall. At that point she was two shots behind Kim. But then Sherri birdied 13, 14 and 16 to reach -12 while Christina stumbled, playing the final six in +1. At 13 Kim missed a short par putt and immediately started glaring at somebody in the gallery. That miss created a four-way tie for the lead (Kim, Steinhauer, Hetherington, Redman). Christina recovered to birdie 15 but then gave it back at 16, giving her two bogeys on both of the back-nine par-5s. Sorenstam appeared to be making a run when she birdied 8 and 9 but she only managed even par over the last nine. Hetherington was the steadiest in the last two groups – 32 on the front and a bogey-less 35 on the back moved her into second place. Redman’s 64 was her best round of the year by four strokes.
The wind picked up again Saturday, and by the end of the TV coverage was gusting as strongly as it had on Thursday. Still the scores were generally good and of the 16 players currently T10 or better, only Mi Hyun Kim (73) failed to score under par. Sunday’s forecast calls for winds of less than 10mph so a few 66s may be sighted. With nine players within five of the lead, the final round should be a wide-open affair.