PALM DESERT, Calif. Annika Sorenstam seized control early Saturday amid meltdowns by Michelle Wie and Grace Park, then pulled away with four birdies on the last five holes for a 6-under 66 and a four-shot lead in the Samsung World Championship.
Sorenstam began her late charge with a bending 18-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, and suddenly had that spark in her eye as she fired away at the flags and pumped her fists when the birdie putts disappeared. The only birdie putt she missed was a 12-footer on the 17th that hung on the lip.
She wound up at 15-under 201, making the trophy presentation Sunday look like a formality. Sorenstam has won the last eight times when she has had a 54-hole lead, including all five times this year.
Gloria Park shot a 68 and was at 11 under.
For the 16-year-old Wie, it began to look similar to the final round at the U.S. Women's Open, where she missed several short putts on her way to an 82. After a three-putt bogey on the second hole, she three-putted from 5 feet on the next hole to fall back to the middle of the 20-player field.
Unlike Cherry Hills, she showed some fight.
Wie didn't drop a shot the rest of the way, escaping from the bushes no bees, this time with a par and finishing with a birdie for a 1-under 71. At 10-under 206, she was five shots behind in her pro debut. Grace Park, who had a two-shot lead after the second round, shot a 76 to drop eight strokes back.
LAS VEGAS Ted Purdy birdied his first four holes and finished with a 7-under 65 in windy conditions to take a two-stroke lead in the Michelin Championship.
Purdy's second consecutive 65 moved him to 18-under 197 through three rounds. He won the Byron Nelson Championship this year for his first PGA Tour title.
Steve Lowery shot a 64 to move into a second-place tie with Charles Howell III (67) and Harrison Frazar (68).
The gusting wind took its toll on some of the other players, with the relatively easy TPC at Summerlin course suddenly turning into a challenge.
Briny Baird, ahead by one shot after the first round and up by two heading into the third day, struggled mightily. His round included a quadruple-bogey 8 on No. 12 as he ballooned to a 78 that left him tied for 43rd at 9 under.
Tour rookie Ryan Moore, the former UNLV star, also had a disastrous hole. The 2004 NCAA player of the year and U.S. amateur champion and 2005 college player of the year, Moore took a 9 on the par-5 16th on his way to a 74 that dropped him into a tie for 22nd.
Administaff Small Business Classic
SPRING, Texas Brad Bryant shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead over six players in the Administaff Small Business Classic.
The 50-year-old Bryant, the PGA Tour's 1995 Walt Disney World champion, birdied seven of the first 13 holes on the Augusta Pines course and had his lone bogey on No. 15. He has four top-10 finishes in 20 events on the Champions Tour, including a third-place tie in August in Washington, but had not topped a leaderboard until Saturday.
Jay Haas, coming off his first victory on the 50-and-over tour last week in North Carolina, shot a 69 to join Hale Irwin (68), Gil Morgan (67), Dave Barr (67), Mark McNulty (68) and Morris Hatalsky (69) at 10 under.
MADRID, Spain France's Raphael Jacquelin shot his third straight 7-under 64 to take a seven-stroke lead into the final round of the Madrid Open. Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke (68) and Portugal's Jose-Filipe Lima (67) were tied for second.
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