RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson topped the Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard Saturday, setting up a final-round showdown the LPGA Tour has been waiting for.
Wie, 24, shot a bogey-free 4-under 68 to match Thompson at 10-under 206 at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year.
Thompson, 19, had 69 after driving into a fairway bunker and missing a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 18th. She also missed two short birdie putts.
Wie, anointed the great American hope for women's golf when she was in her teens, hasn't lived up to her promise. Thompson, the current holder of the "great American hope" label, is already a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Neither has won a major.
Charley Hull, the Englishwoman who turned 18 last month, was two strokes back with five-time major champion Se Ri Pak (71). Hull birdied the 18th for 66, the best round of the day in perfect afternoon conditions in the Coachella Valley.
PGA: Matt Kuchar overcame windy conditions to match the low round of the day, 4-under 68, and take a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Houston Open at Humble, Texas. Kuchar had three straight birdies on the back nine at the Golf Club of Houston to vault past second-round leader Sergio Garcia (73) and sit at 15-under 201. Garcia was in second with Cameron Tringale (69).
At last week's Texas Open, Kuchar also played in the final pairing for the final round. He shot 75 and finished fourth. "It's a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win and again to come back this week, completely different course, and have another shot to win," Kuchar said.
Garcia began the day with a one-shot lead over Kuchar. That disappeared quickly after Garcia bogeyed the first to fall back to 11 under and into a tie with his playing partner, Kuchar.
That was just the beginning of Garcia's struggles. Among other things, he put his tee shot into the water on No. 10.
"It wasn't that easy," Garcia said.
Phil Mickelson, after withdrawing from last week's Texas Open with a muscle pull in his right side, was inconsistent from the opening hole.
He left his opening two approach shots short of the green; the second found the bunker and caused him to slump over in the fairway. That led to the first of back-to-back bogeys, though he did recover with three straight birdies on the back nine. He shot par 72 and was 6 under.
Rory McIlroy shot 74 and was 1 under.