Saturday, March 01, 2008

HSBC – 3rd Round

Lorena Ochoa extended her lead by another stroke to eight at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Paula Creamer and Annika Sorenstam are tied for second at -8 with Karrie Webb fourth at -7 and Laura Diaz fifth at -5.

Ochoa bogeyed 6 and 17 but still managed her third-straight sub-70 round (66-65-69). I’m not going to hedge here at all – she’s got this tournament in the bag. Creamer and Sorenstam aren’t playing badly (although Annika doubled the par-4 10th) but even with a final-round 63, they would need Lorena to post 71 to catch her. The battle for second will include those mentioned above plus Ji-Yai Shin, Stacy Prammanasudh and In-Kyung Kim, who are all at -4 four shots behind Creamer and Sorenstam.

Scoring on Saturday was the toughest so far – 69 was the best anyone could post. Rainy conditions drove the average up nearly two strokes. Of course Ochoa was one of those who broke 70. The others were Catriona Matthew, Seon Hwa Lee and Alena Sharp. Except for these and the rest of the top 17, nobody else enjoyed Round Three. Sarah Lee (76), Natalie Gulbis (75), Ai Miyazato (77) and Linda Wessberg (81) are just a few examples of the futility. Mi Hyun Kim withdrew during the round, raising concern that her knee isn’t up to full strength.

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