Tseng takes charge at LPGA Championship

A third round 67 puts Tseng in position for her 4th major title

ROCHESTER, June 25, 2011 (AFP) - World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan fired a five-under par 67 on Saturday to seize a five-stroke lead after the third round of the LPGA Championship as she bids for a fourth major title.

Tseng, looking for a wire-to-wire victory in the second women's golf major championship of 2011, was leading the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco, after 54 holes last April but fired a 74 and lost to American Stacy Lewis.

"I learned from that. I won't grab the trophy on the first hole," Tseng said. "I'm excited. I will just go out there with a big smile tomorrow and enjoy it."

Entering the final round, 22-year-old Tseng stood on 13-under par 203 with Americans Morgan Pressel and Cindy Lacrosse sharing second on 208 and South Korean Hee Young Park fourth on 210.

"I'll be right in front of her trying to put pressure on her," Pressel said of Tseng. "I just have to be aggressive, not stupidly aggressive but just be patient and make putts. I've got to make some birdies but I'll give it a shot."

A pack sharing fifth on 211 included South Korean Meena Lee and Americans Lewis, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, who matched Tseng for the day's low round. Creamer fired 18 pars to stay in the hunt.

Tseng could complete a career Grand Slam at next month's US Women's Open after winning last year's Kraft Nabisco and Women's British Open crowns and the 2008 LPGA Championship.

Tseng birdied the par-4 second and added another at the par-3 ninth, then fired back-to-back birdies at the par-4 12th and 13th holes, stretching her lead to five strokes.

After stumbling with a bogey at the par-4 14th, Tseng responded with birdies at the par-3 15th and par-5 17th and needed another at the 18th to match the 54-hole tournament record of retired Swedish legend Annika Sorenstam.

Tseng was three-feet short on a 25-foot birdie putt but tapped in to finish an impressive round after leading by only a stroke after the first two days.

"I just wanted to stay below the hole, be very patient and make my putts," Tseng said of her round. "To put it in the fairway, that's the most important thing. I just kept it below the pin. I just wanted to enjoy it and just relax."

Tseng could become the first player since retired Mexican star Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to win a major after capturing the prior regular LPGA event, having won the LPGA State Farm Classic two weeks ago, her seventh career LPGA crown.

Tseng also won her first four events of the year, the first in Taiwan, the next two in Australia and the LPGA season opener in Thailand.

Lacrosse birdied three of the first five holes on her way to a third-round 69.

"I've scrambled around and made some good par saves," Lacrosse said. "My putting and chipping has been pretty good."

Lewis, whose first career victory was at the Kraft Nabisco, will try to finish the first half of a Grand Slam by overhauling Tseng again on the last day.

"Off the tee she can lose it a litle bit," Lewis said. "I think if she has got a couple shot lead she has got a good chance."


Leading scores after Saturday's third round of the LPGA Championship (USA unless noted, par-72):

203 - Yani Tseng (TPE) 66-70-67

208 - Cindy Lacrosse 70-69-69, Morgan Pressel 69-69-70

210 - Hee Young Park (KOR) 69-69-72

211 - Meena Lee (KOR) 68-73-70, Cristie Kerr 72-72-67, Stacy Lewis 69-72-70, Paula Creamer 67-72-72

212 - Mika Miyazato (JPN) 72-72-68, Katie Futcher 75-68-69, Maria Hjorth (SWE) 71-71-70, I.K. Kim (KOR) 73-70-69, Azahara Munoz (ESP) 70-71-71, Momoko Ueda (JPN) 72-69-71, Pat Hurst 70-67-75

213 - Suzann Pettersen (NOR) 72-72-69, Inbee Park (KOR) 73-69-71, Candie Kung (TPE) 71-71-71, Tiffany Joh 71-70-72, Amy Yang (KOR) 70-69-74

214 - Karrie Webb (AUS) 74-69-71, Katherine Hull (AUS) 70-72-72, Pornanong Phatlum (THA) 71-72-71, Jimin Kang (KOR) 71-70-73, Angela Stanford 68-72-74