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Kerr takes 2-shot lead to Sunday at Kingsmill

The SportsXchange

JAMES CITY, Va. -- Cristie Kerr shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort.

Fellow American Stacy Lewis carded a 68 and is for second with Suzann Pettersen of Norway. Angela Stanford is alone in fourth at 7-under.

Kerr started the day two strokes behind first and second round leader Ariya Jutanugarn, a 17-year-old from Thailand, who entered on a sponsor's exemption.

The 35-year-old Kerr rolled in six birdies, three on each side and all coming after a bogey on the second hole.

Kerr, who has 15 career victories, is the only two-time champion in the eight-year history of the tournament, winning at the River Course in 2005 and 2009. Pettersen captured the title in 2007.

Jutanugarn, the current leader on the Ladies European Tour money list, finished her round at 73 after carding bogeys on three of her first four holes and totaling six in all.

Ilhee Lee of South Korea had a wild round that ended with the South Korean's third straight 69, leaving her four shots back in fifth place.

Inbee Park of South Korea, ranked No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings and a three-time winner this season, shot 69 and is tied for eighth.

Overcast morning conditions gave way to sunny skies once the final groups hit the course, but chilly temperatures remained throughout, as did swirling winds.

Jutanugarn shot a first-round 64 and dominated the front nine on Thursday and Friday, but opened Saturday with bogeys on the first two holes. Another followed on the fourth.

With Jutanugarm dropping back, several players took turns atop the leaderboard.

Lee initially emerged from the pack with a 30-foot eagle putt on the seventh hole and started the back nine with a two-stroke lead.

Four holes later, the lead vanished thanks to back-to-back double bogeys on 12 and 13, although Lee recorded birdies on the next two holes.

Kerr, who last won at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last November, led almost exclusively from there.

Briefly joined by Pettersen at 8-under, Kerr jumped ahead for good with a birdie on 13. She extended her lead with a birdie on the par-5 15th.

Lewis, the top-ranked American and No. 2 in the world, moved back into the contending mix with birdies on 15 and 16.

The only player without a bogey during the third round, Lizette Salas turned in the day's low score with a 65, jumping from 40th place overnight to a tie for sixth with Jutanugarn.

NOTES: Top-ranked Inbee Park, coming off a victory in the North Texas Shootout, bounced back from a 1-over-par 72 in the second round. She carded a bogey on the first hole, but played the last 17 holes in a bogey-free 3-under, but starts the final round six strokes behind Cristie Kerr, who was No. 1 in the world three times during the 2010 season. ... Playing in her first event as a member of the LPGA tour, 23-year-old American Katie Burnett has posted rounds of 68-70-71 and is tied for eighth with Park.
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