Harvey, Neumann share four-stroke lead
CANTON, Mass. (AP) _ Liselotte Neumann watched closely as Nancy Harvey made a curling, downhill 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, punched the air and waved her cap.
The serious Neumann then calmly made a 4-footer for her birdie at the same hole Saturday to share a four-stroke lead with Harvey and set up another head-to-head battle in the final round of the LPGA Welch’s Championship.
``Unless both of us falter big time, someone is going to have to shoot really low, like 66″ to win, Harvey said.
Harvey and Neumann, who also shared the lead after the first round, were at 10-under-par 206 after 54 holes. They’re paired again for the final round in which Neumann, who had three of her eight tournament wins last year but none this year, could have an advantage over Harvey, winless in her nine years on the tour.
``It’s always an edge when you’ve been in that situation,″ Neumann said, ``but the way she played today, you’d never know she hadn’t been in that situation.″
Neumann, who began the day two strokes behind Harvey, shot a 3-under 69 and Harvey shot a 71. Tied at 6-under 210 were Karrie Webb, who had a 71, Rachel Hetherington (72) and Sherri Steinhauer (67). Carin Hj Koch’s 72 put her at 211.
Windy weather was expected Sunday at the 6,137-yard Blue Hill Country Club course and that could help Harvey, who grew up in tough conditions in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, about 100 miles north of the Montana border.
``You have to go out and play in whatever conditions, because you only have four months to play,″ Harvey said.
She enjoys the conditions in Massachusetts, having been tied for the lead after three rounds of the Friendly’s Classic in Agawam last month before sliding to seventh place with a final-day 75.
The tournament took on a match-play appearance Saturday after Webb, winner of last weekend’s Safeco Classic, putted poorly on the last three holes.
``If I knew what went wrong, I wouldn’t have three-putted four times,″ Webb said. ``Unless I have an unreal round (Sunday), I played myself out of it.″
Harvey had broken a tie for the lead with Neumann with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 389-yard 14th. But she bogeyed the next two holes and slipped into a tie at 9-under.
Both parred the 17th, and Harvey celebrated after making her birdie at the next hole and putting pressure on Neumann to match it.
``I knew she was going to make her putt. She really made me think twice about my putt and I rose to the occasion,″ Harvey said. ``I really enjoyed making that putt.″
Neumann had left herself a tough 45-yard shot out of the left rough to the 18th green. But her chip rolled just by the left side of the hole.
``That was a great shot,″ Neumann said. ``It’s one of those where you open the (club) face, close your eyes and hit it and pray at the same time.″
She then made her 4-footer.
Harvey was a bit steadier than she had been the previous two days when she made 16 birdies and seven bogeys. On Saturday, she had four birdies and three bogeys.
Neumann had fallen three strokes behind when she bogeyed No. 1 by three-putting from 12 feet. But after Harvey bogeyed No. 3 and Neumann birdied 4 and 5, they were tied again.
Neumann then took her first lead of the day with a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 7. But Harvey came back with consecutive birdies and finished the front nine with a one-stroke lead.
Webb moved within two strokes of Harvey and Neumann with a 25-foot birdie putt at 15. But her chances at a fourth victory this year were hurt when she missed a 1-foot putt at 16 and three-putted from 30 feet on 17.
Divots: Wendy Doolan of Australia had the second hole-in-one of the tournament, acing the 133-yard 16th. She shot a 73 and was 11 strokes off the lead. ... Defending champion Emilee Klein shot a 69 and was 3-under. ... Tracy Welch, winner of this year’s Massachusetts Open, shot a 78 after barely making the cut and was tied for the third-worst score at 225.