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Rookie Lunke fights nerves to lead by one

The pressure of the U.S. Women's Open was creeping up on Hilary Lunke from all sides Saturday.

She made consecutive bogeys to fall into a share of the lead and faced a downhill putt from 10 feet on the par-3 15th to save par. Even more intimidating was seeing Annika Sorenstam post 4-under 67, leaving the world's No. 1 two strokes behind.

But Lunke, 24, made the par putt and got a lucky bounce that led to birdie on the next hole to shoot 3-under 68 for a one-stroke lead over Angela Stanford going into today's final round at Pumpkin Ridge.

"That was the key point in the round," Lunke said. "I was thrilled to make the putt I did on 15, and thrilled to get the bounce I did on 16."

Stanford, coming off her first LPGA victory Sunday at the ShopRite Classic, finished with birdie on the 18th hole for 69.

Sorenstam had only the second bogey-free round of the tournament and improved 22 places into a tie for third, three strokes behind. She was tied with Jeong Jang (69), Mhari McKay (75) and 17-year-old Aree Song (68) of Bradenton, who was the best of the 14 teenagers in the tournament.

"I'm very pleased where I'm at," Sorenstam said. "I played some great golf today, and I putted really well. So with that going in to tomorrow, I think I'm in great shape."

McKay, the first- and second-round leader, lost her four-stroke lead after four holes and shot 75. Juli Inkster bogeyed four of the first five on the back nine and shot 74.

Lunke, who was at 5-under 211, tries to become the first rookie since Se Ri Pak in the 1998 LPGA Championship to make her first victory a major.

A LPGA Tour rookie who has not finished better than 20th, Lunke was relieved to not be paired with Sorenstam, who plays in the second-to-last pairings with Song.

Song, who played in the final group at the Nabisco Championship three years ago, said she learned from that.

"Just keep focused is the main thing," Song said. "Not worry about my score or what the lead is, not looking at the leaderboard."

Can she win?

"Maybe," Song said.

WIE FLAP: Michelle Wie's father retracted claims that Danielle Ammaccapane pushed his 13-year-old daughter, saying there was no contact during the first round.

"Michelle just told me that her description of the incident was incorrect," B.J. Wie said.

B.J. Wie, also his daughter's caddie, said Friday that Ammaccapane pushed or bumped Wie on No. 14. He said the 16-year tour veteran berated the teenager in the scoring tent.

Michelle Wie shot 5-over 76 Saturday and declined comment. Ammaccapane shot 73 and released a statement after the round.

"I was very upset and disappointed after being accused of something that was not true ," Ammaccapane said. "I appreciate Mr. Wie's honesty today in setting the record straight."

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