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Nordqvist seizes opportunity to have chance at Mobile Bay win

The SportsXchange

MOBILE, Ala. -- Anna Nordqvist wore a necklace on Saturday that read: Carpe Diem.

Did she ever.

Nordqvist fired a tournament record 11-under-par 61 in the third round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on to launch herself into contention for her first victory since 2010.

The Swedish golfer will enter the final round one shot behind leader Chella Choi, who is at 17-under 199 for the tournament after her second straight 66 on Saturday.

Nordqvist is tied for second with Jessica Korda, the second-round leader who shot a 3-under 69.

Sydnee Michaels' 10-under-par 62 of the second round lasted one day as the tournament record. Before this year, the tournament record had been 8-under, accomplished three times.

In the third round, Nordqvist made 10 birdies, including holing out from the greenside bunker on No. 12, an eagle on the par-5 13th and a three-putt bogey on the par-3 14th.

"It's just one of those days where you just feel like you can't miss," she said. "Today was a lot of fun. I started out with a couple birdies, hit a lot of good shots, and I think I missed one green. And then I made that bunker shot, and it was just like I couldn't stop smiling, couldn't stop laughing."

Nordqvist was 1 over in the first round and shot a 6-under 66 in the second. On Saturday, she hit all 14 fairways, was on all but one green in regulation -- and holed out from the bunker on the one miss -- and used 26 putts to get through the round.

"It's one of those days where you feel like all your hard work, and your patience is paying off," she said. "You look back in the day, you see yourself with a lot of confidence and know you can do it and believe in yourself."

Choi put her second shot on the par-5 16th hole into the greenside bunker, but she got out for a birdie to get to 17 under and will take the lead into the final round for the first time in her LPGA career.

Choi has a different approach this week -- she is scoreboard watching for the first time as she tries to match the top scorers throughout her rounds.

The Korean golfer explained that before this week, watching as scores were posted made her nervous and would erode her confidence.

"So like this week, I start watching the leaderboard. ... Starting Thursday, every hole watching the leading score. So I think much better, mentally better, than before."

Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is alone in fourth place at 15 under after a 3-under 69. Jennifer Johnson is another stroke back after turning in a 65, making her one of five players to shoot 7 under or better on Saturday.

Stacy Lewis won the tournament last year with a record 17-under score. She gave herself a chance to repeat with a 9-under 63 on Saturday to get to 13-under, where she's tied with Michaels.

The group at 12 under includes first-round leaders Lexi Thompson and Eun-Hee Ji, Nicole Castrale and Ariya Jutanungarn, a 17-year-old playing on a sponsor exemption.

Korda had a bumpy third round. After shooting 3 under on the front nine, she bogeyed 11, where hitting her ball out of a divot aggravated the wrist injury she suffered in the LPGA LOTTE Championships on April 20.

This is her first outing since that injury.

She followed the bogey with a double-bogey on No. 12. But she bounced back with a birdie on the 13th, and she set up an eagle on the 16th with a massive tee shot to get back to 16 under.

"I think they said I hit it 325 (yards)," she said. "And then I had a 6-iron in and I was 33 feet past the pin. (The putt) just went straight in the hole. I mean it was a left-to-right putt, and it was pretty."

Lewis had six birdies in each of the first two rounds, but the 2012 Rolex Player of the Year was only 4 under for the tournament because of four bogeys and two double-bogeys.

In the third round, Lewis didn't have any bogeys. But she did have nine birdies.

Fifty-four golfers are at 5 under or better. Korda said they're all in contention.

"What did Anna shoot today -- 11 under?" the 20-year-old from Bradenton, Fla., asked. "Anybody within 12 shots, I think, is still close."
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