Wie, Kerr share lead at Ochoa Invitational
GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Michelle Wie moved into position for her first LPGA victory, shooting a 2-under 70 on Saturday in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational for a share of the third-round lead with Cristie Kerr.
“I'm really excited for tomorrow,” Wie said. “Hopefully, I can go out and win.
“I think I'm just going to play the same way I've always played and go out there and try my hardest and try not to make any expectations of myself. Just go out there like it's another day and try to play as hard as I can and try not to make any bogeys.”
Kerr had a 67 to match Wie at 10 under on the Guadalajara Country Club course.
Second-round leader Jiyai Shin (74) was a stroke back along with Paula Creamer (71) and first-round leader Song-Hee Kim (70).
The top-ranked Ochoa (72) was six strokes behind at 4 under.
The 20-year-old Wie has a share of the lead going into the final round for the second time this season. She was tied for the lead in February in the SBS Open in Hawaii, but ended up three strokes behind winner Angela Stanford.
“I don't want to talk about what happened then,” Wie said. “It's unfortunate. All I want to think about is tomorrow and how I'm going to play tomorrow.”
Kerr won earlier this season, taking the Michelob Ultra Open.
Shin had a difficult day with three bogeys on the back nine. The South Korean has already won the rookie of the year award – ahead of Wie – and could clinch the player of the year trophy if she wins Sunday. Ochoa has won that award three straight years.
Kerr reached 10 under with an eagle on 16.
Wie opened with two straight birdies – a 10-footer on the first and a 30-footer on the second. A 3-foot birdie putt on 13 put her in a three-way tie with Shin and Creamer at 11 under. After that it was holding on. Wie dropped one more shot before the round was over, but Shin and Creamer each dropped two.
Wie and Creamer are clearly the peoples’ choice behind hometown star Ochoa.
“We could hear them chanting – like singing off and on,” Wie said. “It was kind of cool. They were just really riled up and they are really excited to be here. Which makes us really happy to play in front of them.”
Kerr, a 12-time winner on the LPGA, saw her round turn on the 16th when she holed a 9-iron approach from 137 yards for an eagle to get to 10 under. She then saved par on the final two holes.
“I said to my caddie, today is moving day and that's what I did,” Kerr said. “I moved into position and I'm excited to be here. This is what Tiger Woods does every week. This is where he wants to be and this is what I want to be.”
Second-round leader Shin slipped with three bogeys on the back nine – and two on the final three holes. She entered the round with a three-stroke lead, and if she wins Sunday, could claim the player of the year award. Ochoa has won the last three.
Shin, a three-time winner this year, has already won the rookie of the year award, and also is the season's top money winner. Nancy Lopez is the only player to win both the rookie and player awards in the same season, accomplishing the feat in 1978.
“Every player in four rounds – one will be really hard and today was my bad day,” Shin said. “Tomorrow I think I should make a comeback.”
Kim is also looking for her first tour win.
“I have had a lot of chances to win this year,” she said. “I mean, I'm really excited to play tomorrow.”
Creamer is an eight-time winner, but she's winless this season battling year-long stomach problems combined with a back and thumb injury. The stomach problems began a year ago after this tournament.
She was upbeat despite three bogeys over the last four holes.
“I played well all day, it was just unfortunate the last four holes,” she said. “I'm ready to go. I want to go out there and play. I haven't been in this situation for quite some time.”