Surprising Swede catches Tseng

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Sweden's Karin Sjodin shot a steady 4-under 68 through heavy wind while chasing down top-ranked Yani Tseng on Saturday, pulling even with Tseng in the lead at 9-under 207 heading into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The dominant Tseng showed visible frustration while posting a 71 as inconsistent as the wind that buffeted Mission Hills throughout her round in the LPGA Tour's first major of the year.

Tseng is a five-time major champion; the long-hitting Sjodin has never won in seven seasons on the tour.

Sjodin made one bogey in an impressive round, briefly taking the outright lead down the stretch.

"The day was just kind of smooth," said Sjodin, who kept playing despite apparently dislocating a rib Friday. "I never felt like I was ever in trouble. … It feels great to be there. I don't know if I've really had time to think about it much. It's going to be fun (today), definitely."

Haeji Kang, who also has never won on the tour, was two strokes back after struggling to 72. She joins Tseng and Sjodin in the final group today. World No. 2 Na Yeon Choi was among five players at 6 under.

Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse shot 70 and was tied for 24th at 2 under.

Tseng has won the past two tournaments and three of five this season, leading 10 of the past 11 rounds on the tour. At 23, she is shooting to become the youngest six-time major winner in history. She is three years younger than Tiger Woods was when he won his sixth.

Tseng knew she might be in trouble when serious wind hit the Dinah Shore tournament course right about when Tseng and Kang teed off in the final twosome of the day.

"For the front nine, I played very solid, especially in this wind," said Tseng, who had plenty of experience in bad-weather golf growing up in Taiwan.

"I don't think it was as tough as I thought, so maybe I was prepared for this. But on the back nine, I got kind of emotional, maybe thinking too much, trying too hard to play better."

PGA: Louis Oosthuizen shot his second straight 6-under 66 to reach 17-under 199 and take a two-shot lead over Hunter Mahan after the third round of the Houston Open in Humble, Texas. He shook off two early bogeys on a sunny, windy afternoon at Redstone. He reeled off four birdies in a row on the back nine to surge ahead. Mahan had 65, rebounding from a bogey on No. 9 with four birdies on the back nine. Carl Pettersson (67) and Brian Davis (69) were three strokes back at 14 under. James Driscoll (71) was alone at 12 under.

EUROPEAN: Thorbjorn Olesen made four birdies and an eagle for 5-under 67 to lead the Sicilian Open by three strokes at 12-under 204 heading to the final round in Sciacca, Sicily. John Daly (72) was six shots back.

.FAST FACTS

The 76th Masters

When/where: Thursday-April 8; Augusta, Ga.

Course: Augusta National Golf Club (Par 72, 7,435 yards)

Defending champion: Charl Schwartzel

Purse: TBA ($8 million in 2011)

Field: 97 (91 professionals, six amateurs)

Cut: Top 44 and ties, and anyone within 10 shots of the lead

Television: Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m., ESPN; Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Ch. 10; April 8, 2 p.m., Ch. 10

Online: masters.com

Surprising Swede catches Tseng 03/31/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 31, 2012 11:02pm]

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