HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. —
A long rain-delayed day for Anna Nordqvist at the McDonald's LPGA
Championship was about to end with three holes remaining in her
third round as she lined up a 24-foot putt from off the green in the
twilight at Bulle Rock.
But any feelings of
exhaustion, or trepidation about having to come back Sunday morning
to finish the round disappeared when the 22-year-old rookie from
Sweden saw the putt squeeze in between the flagstick and the side of
the hole on Saturday for a birdie 4.
The putt put
Nordqvist at 10-under par and gave her a 1-stroke lead over Lindsay
Wright, who also has three holes remaining for Sunday morning.
Play was stopped at
4:41 p.m. after lightning was detected in the area. After a few
heavy downpours, the contestants returned to the course at 7 and
played until 8:10, when the horn blew to suspend the competition
because of darkness.
Players could finish
the hole they were on when officials signaled the end to the day. Na
Yeon Choi, who was in third place at the time, was ready to tee up
her ball at the 18th when the horn sounded.
Because she could not
proceed, and would have to come back early to play only one hole,
she reacted by yanking her tee out of the ground and throwing it in
disgust in a motion that would have impressed Brad Lidge.
Eight players will
complete their third round this morning beginning at 7:30, with the
final round beginning at 9.
Jin Young Pak, a
22-year-old second-year player from South Korea, was the leader in
the clubhouse after a 3-under-par round of 69 left her at 7-under
209 for the tournament.
Despite the fact she
was playing just her fifth LPGA Tour event, and first major as a
pro, Nordqvist stayed cool under the pressure. Even though she
bogeyed the par-5 11th — her second hole after the rain delay —
she made a nice par save at 13 before her closing birdie at the
putting real well the last couple of days," the former Arizona
State star said. "I rolled a lot of good putts today. I was on
the fringe (on 15) and I figured maybe it was eight yards or so. I
picked out the line and it went in."
Today will be a
supreme test of Nordqvist's nerves, however. Not only does she have
to come back early and play three holes, she then has to wait around
approximately five to six hours for her final round to begin, giving
the butterflies in her stomach a chance to multiply.
"I'll be up
early and play those holes," she said. "Then I'll probably
go back and rest and relax before I tee it up again," she said.
"I haven't done it before so I don't have an answer" to
how she will feel.
Wright, 29, an
Australian seeking her first LPGA Tour win, rocketed into first
place with a run of four birdies in five holes, capped by a 4-foot
birdie putt at the par-5 11th that got her to 10-under. But she
found a bunker with her approach at the 13th and made bogey to fall
a disadvantage not finishing," she said. "It was just
go-go-go all day. I would love to sleep in (today). But it's going
to be a big day regardless. I've been waking up at 4:30 every day
anyway, so it's just another day really."
South Korean rookie
Jiyai Shin bogeyed her last hole for a 69 that put her at 210, one
shot better than a pair of Americans, Angela Stanford and Stacy
Lorena Ochoa, seeking
to break through in this major after five top-10 finishes here in as
many years, couldn't find a spark and her 73 gave her a 54-hole
score of 2-under 214, eight strokes behind the leader.
Michelle Wie threw a
jolt into the crowd with a hole-in-one at the 152-yard seventh hole,
where she used an 8-iron. But she couldn't sustain the momentum,
shot 38 on the back nine and finished with a 73 that left her at
Irene Cho, a former
star at Southern California, matched the low round of the tournament
with a 65 and vaulted from a tie for 65th in a tie for 12th at 212.