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Leader Jang's nerves not caused by Annika

By Associated Press
Published July 31, 2005

SOUTHPORT, England - Jeong Jang has played with Annika Sorenstam before - but never with this much at stake.

The South Korean, paired with Sorenstam for today's final round of the Women's British Open, will try to protect a five-stroke lead and win the first tournament of her six-year LPGA career.

"I am going to be nervous but not because of being with Annika, just being the leader," said Jang, who shot 3-under 69 Saturday to move to 13-under 203 for the tournament at Royal Birkdale.

"I will think about my golf, not think about Annika."

But, like it or not, Sorenstam will be there, trying for her third major title of the year and 10th overall. The Swedish star made sure of that by shooting 6-under 66 and pulling into a tie for second with Cristie Kerr (69) at 8 under.

"We will see what happens," said Sorenstam, who has not bogeyed since the 13th hole in the first round. "There's a lot of golf holes out there left to be played and birdie opportunities. I am very happy with my round today and it was my best golf of the week."

Sorenstam and Jang were paired together at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.

"Annika won that event," Jang said. "I finished tied for fifth."

Jang, who began the day with a four-stroke lead, provided a few chances for those chasing her to make up ground. She bogeyed the opening hole before recovering with five birdies. She just missed another birdie on the 18th when her 10-foot putt stopped inches short of the cup.

She has the best score through 54 holes since the tournament became a major five years ago.

Behind Sorenstam and Kerr are five players at 7-under 209. One of them is Michelle Wie, the 15-year-old amateur who is playing her last tournament before returning to high school.

She posted consecutive 67s after opening with 75 in the wind and rain Thursday.

"I could have been a lot better but I'm happy with the way my score came out," said Wie, who had six birdies. "I felt really good with my iron shots today. I just couldn't putt."

Tied with Wie are 18-year-old Paula Creamer, the winner of last week's Evian Masters who had seven birdies in a flawless 65, 2000 British Open champion Sophie Gustafson (67), Young Kim (67) and Liselotte Neumann (68).

USGA: Craig Stadler made a spectacular bunker shot on the final hole and went on to make birdie, moving into a tie for the lead with Loren Roberts after three rounds of the U.S. Senior Open in Kettering, Ohio.

Stadler had pulled his drive into the bunker left of the fairway on the dogleg par-4 but was able to muscle a 7-iron shot out of the sand from 153 yards that ended up 4 feet from the pin. He made the birdie putt to cap 2-under 69.

Roberts also shot 69 to share the top spot at 11-under 202, highlighting his round by spinning in a wedge at the 10th hole for eagle.

The co-leaders were three shots ahead of the field, with Raymond Floyd - winner of the last major at NCR Country Club, the 1969 PGA Championship - at 205 with D.A. Weibring. The 62-year-old Floyd shot 69 that included four birdies and two bogeys. Weibring had 68.

There were numerous sterling shots and as many pratfalls for most of the contenders. None was more dramatic than the one Tom Watson had at the sixth green.

Alone in the lead, Watson hit his second shot on the par-5, 549-yard hole through the green and into a back trap. He blasted out to 12 feet but rolled his birdie putt 2 feet past the hole. His second putt rolled 6 feet beyond the hole, stopping near where his original putt had been. He also missed the bogey putt, tapping in for double-bogey 7 that dropped him two shots behind playing partner Roberts, who made a birdie putt.

After starting the day tied for the lead with Stadler and Roberts, Watson sagged to 73 that left him four shots back at 202 along with Des Smyth, whom Watson beat in a playoff last weekend to win the Senior British Open.

PGA EUROPEAN: Bradley Dredge shot 5-under 66 to maintain a share of the lead with Barry Lane after the third round of the Scandinavian Masters in Stockholm, Sweden. Dredge, the overnight leader, had a chance to enter the clubhouse with a one-stroke edge but missed a birdie putt on the last hole. He finished 5-under 66. Lane shot 65 to drop to 18-under 195.

FUTURES: Kim Brozer shot 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead at the M&T Bank Loretto Classic in Syracuse, N.Y. She was 10-under 132 after two rounds. Clearwater's Jenny Gleason (71-140) and Brooksville's Kelly Lagedrost (70-146) made the cut.

[Last modified July 31, 2005, 01:32:21]


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