Los Angeles (AFP) – Pernilla Lindberg had the hot putter at the ANA Inspiration on Saturday, grabbing a three-shot lead after playing-partner and second round co-leader Park Sung-hyun came unglued after being put on the clock.
The 31-year-old Swede fired a two-under 70 in the third round to reach 14-under 202 as she aims to capture her first title in eight seasons on the LPGA Tour.
“I felt calm out there. I had fun,” said Lindberg who rolled in four birdies in her round. “I’ve been on Tour long enough to still be in a lot of heated moments.
“I just keep collecting experiences each and every year. I’ve played a lot of golf in my life, and I just feel like the pieces are kind of falling together.”
Lindberg birdied her first hole of the day en route to breaking the 54-hole tournament scoring record at Mission Hills golf course in Rancho Mirage, 16 kilometres southeast of Palm Springs.
She has never held a 54-hole lead in a regular Tour event let alone a major like the ANA. The Swede takes a slim lead into the final round ahead of Amy Olson of the US, who shot a 68 to reach 11-under 205.
Park (74) is four back at 10-under in a pack of players that also includes Park In-bee, Moriya Jutanugarn, Jennifer Song, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Charley Hull at 10-under par.
Lindberg started her round tied with Park at 12-under.
Park, who shot 10 strokes higher on Saturday than her second round 64, hung in there until officials put the pair on the clock for slow play on the back nine.
That’s when everything change for Park who had three bogeys and a double bogey in her next five holes.
She needed multiple shots just to get out of a bunker on the par-four 15 and finished with a double bogey six.
“It was a rough day out there today,” Park said. “I’m just going to focus on what I need to do for tomorrow.”
Lindberg is paired with Olson in Sunday’s final round. Olson was a rookie in 2014 and like Lindberg is in unfamiliar territory as she hopes to win for the first time on Tour.
“I’ve never been in this position before, but I’m excited about it,” Olson said. “I definitely look at it as an awesome learning experience. You can’t really learn until you’ve been there. So, I’m really excited about that.”