American shoots a 65 for a two-shot margin
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- With the wide fairways of the River Course at Kingsmill Resort playing soft this week, players have insisted it was suited for a bomber.
But after three rounds of the Kingsmill Championship, two of the shortest hitters but most accomplished players in the field have emerged.
Firing a 5-under-par 65 on Saturday, Paula Creamer overtook Jiyai Shin. At 16 under, Creamer has a two-shot lead over Shin and the lowest third-round score in tournament history.
Playing all three days with Lexi Thompson, Creamer has regularly been outdriven by 30 to 40 yards. But Creamer has been amazingly accurate, hitting 39 of 42 fairways and 48 of 54 greens in regulation.
"I think you have to be a great ball striker around here. You have to be really good with controlling your shots," Creamer said. "[Kingsmill] is not always like this. It's just [the greens] are a little bit softer and you're able to fire at pins."
Others who can't be counted out are Dewi Claire Schreefel (12 under) and Danielle Kang (12 under), both looking for their first LPGA win. A formidable trio is at 11 under. Ai Miyazato, Stacy Lewis and Azahara Munoz all have LPGA victories within the last four months.
"Some great players are all kind of bunched in there," Creamer said. "I'm going to have to take care of my own game."
Creamer, 26, and Shin, 24, have plenty in common. Neither ranks in the top 100 on tour in driving distance, but both are in the top 10 in greens in regulation. Both have had left wrist surgery, and both are anxious to end a drought. Creamer has nine LPGA victories but none in the last 26 months. Shin has eight LPGA wins but none in the last 22 months.
"I've been in contention a lot, so it's not that I'm not used to this, that's for sure," Creamer said. "No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm just going out there and continue what I've been doing this whole year. It's just starting to come together, and one round isn't going to make or break it."
If Creamer or Shin emerges Sunday, it will keep the tournament's record intact of producing champions who have won majors. The list includes Grace Park (2003), Se Ri Pak (2004), Cristie Kerr (2005, 2009), Karrie Webb (2006), Suzann Pettersen (2007) and Annika Sorenstam (2008).
"Especially this course we need a lot of skill around the green, and we need good accuracy with the driver and iron." Shin said. "We have to be good playing with all clubs."
Creamer's bogey-free round was the best of the day. She jump-started it with three straight birdies on the front nine. The highlight of the back nine was a chip-in birdie from the wiry Bermuda grass at No.?13, which delighted the large gallery following her.
"There's nothing better. It's why you play the game, for those emotions, walking up onto the green, hitting a good shot, hearing just the people," Creamer said. "They had such a good crowd out there today, just so supportive of my golf and women's golf in general."