McPherson leads LPGA's first major entering final round

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Kristy McPherson watches her birdie putt slide by the 18th hole Saturday during the third round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (CHRIS CARLSON ~ Associated Press)

Kristy McPherson, Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome will tee off together in the last group today at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The all-American pairing for the final round of the LPGA Tour's first major of the season makes quite a statement, especially in a Solheim Cup year.

So much for the theory that American golf is on the wane.

"There is such strong competition out there from so many different countries," said McPherson, who shot a steady if not spectacular 2-under 70 on a hot, calm Saturday to take sole possession of the lead at 8-under 208.

"It's tough golf out here. I'm happy that a lot of the Americans are having a solid week, and it just makes us want to play better golf out here."

Kerr was one shot behind McPherson while Lincicome was two back atop the tight leaderboard. They also shot 70s on a day when tough pin placements at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., made for fewer birdies.

"It's about time," Lincicome said of the American-dominated leaderboard. "It's really cool to see. I'm so proud of my girls. I am so proud of the Americans, especially Kristy. Kristy is one of my best friends on tour."

The 27-year-old McPherson, with six career top-10 finishes but no victories, is playing in the Kraft Nabisco for the first time. On Friday, McPherson and Christina Kim teed off before strong wind raked the Coachella Valley and jumped into a tie for the lead in the LPGA Tour's first major of the season.

Kim faltered in the third round Saturday with a 75 and was five shots back.

PGA Tour

Bo Van Pelt moved to 11-under par to take a one-shot lead through eight holes of his third round at the Shell Houston Open in Humble, Texas, just before play was suspended because of darkness.

Fred Couples, Paul Casey, Colt Knost and Tommy Armour III were all at 10 under when the horns sounded at 7:34 p.m. The players will resume the round early today, then immediately tee off for the final 18.

Van Pelt shot a 67 in the second round, then birdied three of the first seven holes in his third round.

Knost, playing with Van Pelt, was leading at 11 under until a three-putt bogey at the par-5 eight. Van Pelt hit a pitch to 3 feet and sank the birdie putt to switch places with Knost and take the outright lead.

-- The Associated Press

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: