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Park leads Nabisco, on verge of 2nd LPGA major title

The SportsXchange

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. -- Inbee Park shot a 5-under 67 to increase her lead to three shots over Lizette Salas on Saturday going into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Park, who is from South Korea, is at 12-under par 204, while Salas, who shot a third round 3-under 69 is at 9-under par. Six players, including two-time Kraft Nabisco Champion, Karrie Webb are tied for third at 6 under.

If Park wins it would be the second major championship. She was 19 when she won the U.S. Women's Open and there are a lot of expectations that Park would like to fulfill on Sunday.

"I only won one major in my 7-year career," Park said. "After the U.S. Open I hadn't won for a while. I need to show a little bit more good pIay and maybe a couple more majors would be very nice."

Park is in great position to win, but only has won once in five times when holding the final-round lead on the LPGA Tour.

"I definitely feel the pressure like everybody else," Park said. "I feel pressure, but my emotions just don't show that much in my face."

It seemed like Park was in a zone during the third round, especially with her putter. She made three putts that were longer than 20 feet and had two approach shots that were 2-feet or less.

One of them was by accident. After Salas put her approach shot in the bunker on the par-3 17th, Park hit a shot that barely cleared the front bunker and came to rest 3 feet from the hole.

"I wasn't going for the pin on that shot," Park said. "I was going right of the flag and pulled it a little bit. That wasn't planned, it just ended up perfect."

Salas was one stroke behind at the beginning of the third round and immediately put pressure on Park. Salas matched Park's birdie on the first hole and then added another to tie Park on the second.

"That was my goal," Salas said. "I wanted to start out strong and I was able to do that."

Park, who had no bogeys in the third round, regained the lead on the fifth hole when she drained a 30-foot birdie.

"My putting was really good," Park said. "I don't think I'm the best putter in the world, though."

Salas, who had one bogey in her first two rounds, made her second of the tournament on No. 8 to slip two shots behind Park, though she said Park's play wasn't affecting her.

"I expect that from her," Salas said. "I just try not to pay attention and worry about what I'm doing."

The lead went back to one when Salas made a 3-foot birdie on the following hole. Both golfers shot 34 on the front nine.

Park took advantage of her accuracy off the tee and her approach shots. Park hit 11-of-14 fairways, her best in three rounds and also was 15 of 18 in greens in regulation.

Putting was also another advantage Park had over Salas. Park made a 40-footer on the 10th hole for birdie and got the lead to three shots when she birdied No. 12.

Salas cut the lead to two on the following hole with a birdie, but Park increased it again to three when she made a 3-footer on the par-3 17th.

Salas had a chance to cut the lead to two on the final hole when Park made par and Salas had a 4-foot birdie putt. The downhill putt just slid past the right side of the cup.

"It's going to be in the back of my mind," Salas said about missing the putt. "I put a good stroke on it, it just didn't fall in."

NOTES: Karrie Webb, who won this event in 2000 and 2006, moved into the top 10 in the third round. Webb, who is from Australia, shot a 67 to get to 6-under par and a tie for third. It was her first round in the 60s. ... Jessica Korda has made 10 birdies in her last 26 holes. She has also made three double bogeys. ... Angela Stanford shot the best round of the day, a 6-under 66, and moved from 28th to a tie for third.

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