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Lewis, Lee 3rd-round leaders at North Texas

May 4, 2014

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Stacy Lewis missed several makeable putts Saturday, including a birdie chance on the 18th hole, but still held a share of the lead going into the final round of the LPGA’s North Texas Shootout.

Lewis shot a 2-under 69 to move to 9-under 204, level with South Korea’s Meena Lee at Las Colinas Country Club.

“I hit the ball so good today, especially on the back nine, gave myself a lot of good looks at birdie, and I couldn’t get a putt to go in,” Lewis said. “I had so many that they just went right over the top edge and finished right behind the hole.”

In nearly ideal scoring conditions with little wind, Lee shot 70 with plenty of near-misses, too.

“It definitely is going to be the putting,” Lee said about what she needs to do Sunday to get her first win since 2006. “I didn’t really take advantage of a lot of birdie chances today, so I want to make more birdies tomorrow and see how it goes.”

First-round leader Suzann Pettersen, Dori Carter and Julieta Granada shot 68 and were a stroke behind the leaders.

Cristie Kerr (69), Christina Kim (70) and Natalie Gulbis (71) were among seven players tied at 7 under and only two strokes off the lead. Also in that group was Jennifer Johnson, who had an opening bogey before shooting a 65 for the best round of the day.

But Caroline Masson, who shared the second-round lead with Lee, followed consecutive 67s with a 75 to fall five strokes back.

Lewis is an eight-time LPGA Tour winner, but has had six runner-up finishes in 16 starts since winning the Women’s British Open in August. She finished worse than sixth only once in the first eight events this year, including second in San Francisco last week.

After a bogey-free 64 with only 26 putts in the second round, Lewis hit all 18 greens in regulation Saturday — even while hitting only seven of 13 fairways. But she needed 34 putts.

“I hit my lines. I hit it the right speed. It wasn’t like they were going way by the hole or anything. They were just tap-ins coming back.”

Inbee Park, the No. 1 player in the world and the defending champion, shot 68 and was only three strokes back.

When the initial cut was made at 2 over after the second round, 74 of the original 144-player field made it. There was another cut after the third round, with 51 players advancing to Sunday at even par or better.

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