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Newz Forum: GOLF: Sorenstam leads Jones, Mallon by two at Office Depot Championship.

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posted on Apr, 4 2004 @ 01:21 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Annika Sorenstam is where she's tough to catch -- in front. Sorenstam scrambled her way to a 2-under 70 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon into the final round of the Office Depot Championship.

Sorenstam, the defending champion who also won three years ago and was the runner-up in 2002, was at 4-under 138.

Thirty-three of her 49 career LPGA Tour victories have come when she led going into the final round, which she has done 52 times.

"I will stay out of trouble as much as possible, leave the ball below the hole so I can be more aggressive with putts, and we will see what happens," she said.

"On this golf course, it's tough to catch somebody."

Sorenstam, 13th last week in the Kraft Nabisco, is seeking her third victory in four tournaments this year. She opened the season with a win in a non-tour event in Australia and won the Safeway International two weeks ago in Arizona.

Jones shot her second straight 70, and Mallon had a 71 at El Caballero Country Club, with the course's large, undulating greens not yielding many low scores.

Jones knows it might be difficult to overtake Sorenstam.

"She is a very, very strong player on Sunday," Jones said. "She usually makes less mistakes than the rest of us."

Sorenstam's shots on the 17th seem to reflect her up-and-down round: a poor shot here, a scrambling shot there and then a fine shot within a foot of the hole.

She pulled her drive into trees on the left, had to hit her second shot from a cramped stance up against a tree, and still was able to punch the ball 150 yards and curve it up the fairway.

Still 102 yards out, the Swedish star hit a wedge shot that landed several feet below the pin, bounced once just beyond the cup, and the backspin brought the ball backward where it rimmed the hole and stopped a foot away.

Sorenstam grinned, shook her head and made a swirling motion with her hand, mimicking the way the ball went spinning around the rim.

She went on to tap in for a birdie on the par-5, 463-yard hole.

"I hit a lot of good shots and then hit a few bad ones, but overall to shoot under par on this course has got to make you happy," she said. "You've got to keep grinding."

Mi-Hyun Kim, beaten by Sorenstam in a playoff for the title three years ago at Wilshire Country Club, was in contention again with a 71 that left her five shots off the lead.

Si Re Pak, who beat Sorenstam by one shot to win the event two years ago and finished in a three-way tie for second behind her last year, had a second-round 70 and was at 144.

Jones also had a roller-coaster round, taking a double bogey on the par-4, 383-yard third hole. She drove into the rough, hit her approach shot into a bunker, left her next shot short, pitched then two-putted.

She had a two-shot swing go her way on No. 15, when her 9-iron shot from 126 yards out bounced into the hole for an eagle.

Karrie Webb couldn't overcome an opening 81 and failed to make the cut despite her second-round 72. Laura Diaz shot a 71, but also missed the cut because she had an 82 the first day.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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