Sorenstam scrambles, stays in front at Office Depot Championship

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2004

LOS ANGELES Annika Sorenstam is where she's tough to catch in front.

Sorenstam scrambled her way to a 2-under 70 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon into the final round of the Office Depot Championship.

Sorenstam, the defending champion who also won three years ago and was the runner-up in 2002, was at 4-under 138.

Thirty-three of her 49 career LPGA Tour victories have come when she led going into the final round, which she has done 52 times.

''I will stay out of trouble as much as possible, leave the ball below the hole so I can be more aggressive with putts, and we will see what happens,'' she said.

''On this golf course, it's tough to catch somebody.''

Sorenstam, 13th last week in the Kraft Nabisco, is seeking her third victory in four tournaments this year. She opened the season with a win in a non-tour event in Australia and won the Safeway International two weeks ago in Arizona.

Jones shot her second straight 70, and Mallon had a 71 at El Caballero Country Club, with the course's large, undulating greens not yielding many low scores.

Jones knows it might be difficult to overtake Sorenstam.

''She is a very, very strong player on Sunday,'' Jones said. ''She usually makes less mistakes than the rest of us.''

Sorenstam's shots on the 17th seem to reflect her up-and-down round: a poor shot here, a scrambling shot there and then a fine shot within a foot of the hole. She pulled her drive into trees on the left, had to hit her second shot from a cramped stance up against a tree, and still was able to punch the ball 150 yards and curve it up the fairway.

BellSouth Classic

DULUTH, Ga. Zach Johnson shot a 4-under 68 to take a three-stroke lead over Padraig Harrington and Scott Hend after the third round of the BellSouth Classic.

Johnson, the 2003 Nationwide Tour player of the year, had a 13-under 203 total on the TPC at Sugurloaf course.

Harrington shot a 67, rallying after a triple bogey by making six birdies on his last 10 holes in the final event before the Masters. Hend had a 68.

Algarve Open

PORTIMAO, Portugal England's David Lynn eagled the final hole for a 6-under 66 and a share of the third-round lead in the Algarve Open. Lynn joined Spain's Ignacio Garrido (69) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (70) at 11-under 205.



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