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Sorenstam's Dubai lead at seven

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 29, 2006


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Annika Sorenstam shot her second straight 4-under 68 Saturday to increase her lead to seven strokes after the third round of the European Ladies Tour's season-ending Dubai Masters.

The top-ranked Swede was at 15-under 201 on the Emirates Golf Club's Majlis Course. Australia's Karrie Webb was second after shooting 70, and European Solheim Cup captain Helen Alfredsson of Sweden was 7 under after 68.

France's Gwladys Noceras, needing a victory to take the money title from English star Laura Davies, was 15 strokes back at even par after shooting 72. Davies is skipping the event to play in the LPGA Tour event in South Korea.

Sorenstam opened with bogey after hitting a poor second shot on the par-4 hole and also hit a subpar approach on the par-5 third that cost her a birdie opportunity.

"I just can't explain what happened in the first few holes," Sorenstam said. "But I like to look at the positives, and the fact that I made six birdies in the last 15 holes is good enough for me. I have to be solid on Sunday because I know that Karrie is having a great year and that she is capable of shooting some very low numbers."

Webb was 1 over on the back nine.

"I was going great till the back nine," she said. "I made the turn at 3 under, and then somehow lost my rhythm.

"It would have been great if I had closed the gap with Annika to three shots, but I am very hopeful of putting up a fight tomorrow. I have come back from seven strokes behind this year (at the Kraft Nabisco Championship), so I know it can be done."

CHAMPIONS: Jim Thorpe stayed steady while the other contenders lurched up and down the leaderboard in Sonoma, Calif., finishing the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a two-stroke lead over Jay Haas, Tom Kite and Loren Roberts.

Thorpe parlayed four straight birdies after the turn into 5-under 67, leaving him two shots ahead of second-round leader Kite - as well as Haas and Roberts, the top two players throughout the season. All four contenders still are in prime position to claim the $440,000 first prize in the season-ending event.

Thorpe, the first-round leader and the 2003 champion, improved to 13-under 203 by conserving his putts and avoiding big mistakes before reaching the fast greens at Sonoma Golf Club.

"I need to go out and shoot another 5-under-par round," Thorpe said. "We all know Jay can take it low, and Tom Kite is a beautiful golfer. I'm going to take some chances. I'm going to go out pin-hunting and force the action."

LPGA: Jin Joo Hong, a South Korean playing in her first tour event, shot 5-under 67 in Gyeongju, South Korea, to take a four-stroke lead after the second round of the Kolon-Hana Bank Championship.

European PGA: Jeev Milkha Singh shot 68 to leave him at 210 in the Volvo Masters in Sotogrande, Spain. Four players were one shot back.

Nationwide: Chad Collins shot 5-under 66 to grab a one-shot lead over Tim O'Neal at the Miccosukee Championship in Miami.

WORLD AMATEUR TEAM: The Netherlands shot 9-under 135 and took a two-stroke lead over the United States, Canada and Wales after the third round in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The Netherlands is at 15-under 417.