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Kerr, McPherson race ahead at State Farm Classic

CRISTIE Kerr made a big jump into a share of the lead with Kristy McPherson at the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Illinois, delivering a dominant showing before a late fade in the third round on a windy Saturday.

"I did a lot of things right," said Kerr, a 12-time tour winner.

Four strokes back after the second round, she settled for a six-under 66 after bogeying two of the final three holes on Saturday.

Then, McPherson (69) stumbled at the end, bogeying her final two holes, and that left them tied at 12-under 204 heading into the last round in the final tuneup for the LPGA Championship this week.

Shin Jiyai (69) was a shot behind. Second-round co-leaders Pak Se-ri (72) and Suzann Pettersen (72) were part of a crowd at 10-under that included Ai Miyazato (65), Kim In-kyung (69), Amy Hung (69), Angela Stanford (69) and Helen Alfredsson (71), who shot her way into contention with a 63.

Michelle Wie fell out of it with a 77 that left her at one-under.

The LPGA Tour's money leader, Kerr drove a seven-wood to 30 feet and eagled the par-5 first hole and started racking up birdies - six in all - while moving to the top of the leaderboard. She was at 14-under after birdies on the par-five 13th and par-three 14th and alone in the lead before faltering down the stretch.

McPherson also got to 14-under before stumbling on the final two holes. She missed a five-footer for par on No. 17 after hitting a bunker and finished her round by missing a 10-foot par putt on 18, but it was a good day overall for a player seeking her first victory in 56 career starts.

In Dublin, Ohio, Matt Bettencourt and fellow American Mark Wilson grabbed a share of the third-round lead at the Memorial on Saturday as three-time champion Tiger Woods moved into contention.

Bettencourt, 34, a PGA Tour rookie this season after topping the Nationwide Tour money list last year, played with great composure on his way to a four-under 68.

Wilson, who clinched his second Tour victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico in March, birdied two of the last four holes for a 69 to join Bettencourt at nine-under 207.

Overnight leaders Jim Furyk and Jonathan Byrd fired topsy-turvy 71s to finish at eight-under, a stroke in front of Australian Geoff Ogilvy (63) and Davis Love III (69).

Woods, bidding for a record fourth title here, was tied for seventh at five-under after covering the tricky back nine in three-under for a 68.


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