PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) _ Annika Sorenstam seized control early Saturday amid meltdowns by Michelle Wie and Grace Park, then pulled away with four birdies on the last five holes for a 6-under 66 to take a four-shot lead at the Samsung World Championship.
Sorenstam began her late charge with a bending 18-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, and suddenly had that spark in her eye as she fired away at the flags and pumped her fists when the birdie putts disappeared. The only birdie putt she missed was a 12-footer on the 17th that hung on the lip.
She wound up at 15-under 201, making the trophy presentation Sunday look like a formality. Sorenstam has won the last eight times when she has had a 54-hole lead, including all five times this year.
Gloria Park shot 68 and was at 205.
For the 16-year-old Wie, it began to look similar to the final round at the U.S. Women’s Open, where she missed several short putts on her way to an 82. After a three-putt bogey on the second hole, she three-putted from 5 feet on the next hole to fall back to the middle of the pack.
Unlike Cherry Hills, she showed some fight.
Wie didn’t drop a shot the rest of the way, escaping from the bushes _ no bees, this time _ with a par and finishing with a birdie for a 1-under 71. At 10-under 206, she is five shots behind.
Even so, with the No. 1 player in women’s golf in total control of her game, it appears the best Wie can do is play for the size of her first paycheck.