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Kerr plays smart to lead the elite pack at US Open

PLAYING it smart was the key ingredient in her bid for a second major title, Cristie Kerr said after a third-round 72 gave her a 2-stroke lead going into the final round of the US Women's Open in Pennsylvania.

"I'm playing great," said the 31-year-old American who won the 2007 championship.

"I still got to play strategically smart, which is what I've done. On this course it's about eliminating mistakes as much as it is making birdies."

Kerr made two birdies against three bogeys on Saturday for 72 and a 54-hole total of 2-under 211, making her the only player under par. Ji Eun-hee of South Korea, at level-par 213, will be her Saucon Valley playing partner on Sunday.

Kerr liked the way she had held herself on a course of slick, sloping greens that turn ambitious plans into bogeys and worse.

"Even as the temptation is to try and want to make more birdies, I've said to myself it's equally important, if not more important, to try and eliminate mistakes this week," she said.

A perfect illustration came at the short, par-four 10th hole where organizers moved the tee forward to give players an option to try and reach the green from the tee.

Kerr played it safe with a five-iron and lob wedge to the green and made par. Her playing partner Paula Creamer went for broke and was ruined by a triple-bogey seven that dropped her from contention.

"I feel pretty good. I'm not nervous. I feel calm. I know what I got to do tomorrow and I'm just going to go out and do it," said Kerr.

"I'm sure there's going to be some nerves in the morning," said Kerr, who is third on the LPGA Tour money list this year.

"But I've been there. I know I can handle it. I think I have the advantage. I've won every way there is to win on tour."

Futures Tour player Jean Reynolds started two strokes off the lead, but stumbled at the end.

She closed with a bogey at the 15th and back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18 on the way to a 3-over 74. She's tied for third at 2-over 215 with Teresa Lu of Chinese Taipei, who had a 1-under 70.

South Korea's In-Kyung Kim (72) and Park Hee-young (72), and Chinese Taipei's Candie Kung (3-under 68) are tied for fifth at 3-over 216. Brittany Lincicome had a 2-over 73, Suzann Pettersen of Norway had a 1-over 72 and Kyeong Bae of South Korea had a 2-under 69 and are tied for eighth at 4-over 217.


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