Inkster leads kids at Evian
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France » Juli Inkster had a 3-under 69 yesterday for a two-shot lead and Michelle Wie ballooned to an 84 after the third round of the Evian Masters.
The 47-year-old Inkster is vying to become the oldest player to win an LPGA Tour event. She finished at 6-under 210 on a tough day for scoring because of swirling winds, tricky flag positions and difficult greens. Only seven players broke par.
"I played very well," said Inkster, who had five birdies and two bogeys. "I'm driving the ball well, I hit good irons and good wedges and I'm putting good."
Jang Jeong of South Korea is second after a 72, followed another shot back by Sophie Gustafson of Sweden (72), Shin Ji-yai of South Korea (70) and Diana D'Alessio of the United States (76).
The 17-year-old Wie had the worst round of the day, shooting 12-over par to languish in 69th place.
"It was frustrating," Wie said. "My body would not do what my mind was telling it to do. I felt a little out of whack."
Two-time winner Annika Sorenstam (74), Natalie Gulbis (73) and Chung Il-mi (70) were four strokes behind the leader.
Inkster, who won in 2003, needed only 26 putts, and credited her confidence on the greens to a recent putting lesson.
She laid up at the 18th hole with water in front of the green and hit a sand wedge to 3 feet for a birdie.
"If it was Sunday and I was behind by one, I'd go for it, but it was too risky a shot for Saturday," Inkster said.
If she wins today, she'll top JoAnne Carner, who won the Safeco Classic at 46 in 1985. The Evian Masters became an official LPGA Tour event in 2000.
Defending champion Karrie Webb (73) and Laura Davies (74) were among four players five strokes back. Lorena Ochoa (75) is seven shots behind Inkster.
The 84th-ranked D'Alessio shared the second-round lead by three strokes with Jin-joo Hong, who struggled to an 80 yesterday. D'Alessio was leading the tournament at 8 under at the turn before she had a quadruple bogey at the 12th.
"What a nightmare," D'Alessio said. "I was cruising along then it was: 'Welcome to reality.' The 12th was a comedy of errors ending with a four-putt.
"Overall, I'm not too unhappy with my position in the tournament. I'll go to sleep tonight, forget about it and hope for better things tomorrow."
Watson makes move
GULLANE, Scotland » Tom Watson showed flashes of his vintage links mastery with a 1-under 70 at Muirfield to put himself within one shot of leader Stewart Ginn after three rounds of the Senior British Open.
A five-time British Open winner at Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Troon and Royal Birkdale and the famous Muirfield links, Watson is a contender to win the title for the third time. He also won in 2003 and '05.
Ginn shot a 69 and stands at 3-under 210. Ginn, an Australian, bogeyed the first two holes but then didn't drop a shot in tricky wind. Ginn, whose accurate approaches gave him birdie chances on most holes between the third and the 17th, is the only player to post a sub-70 round in two days.
Former British Open champion Mark O'Meara is three strokes off the lead after a 70. Nick Faldo, who is making his senior tour debut, slipped back for a share of 11th at 4 over after a 75.
Denis Durnian became the second player this week to win crates of wine for acing a hole. The Englishman shot 84, but aced the par-3, 231-yard No. 4 and won a bottle of wine for each yard.