WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – Cristie Kerr is already the only two-time winner of the Kingsmill Championship and a return to her old putter has her on a roll again. The LPGA Tour also veteran knows better than to put too much stock into what she did on a Saturday on tour.
“There’s definitely no chickens to be counted,” Kerr said after making six birdies in a 5-under 66 that gave her a two-shot lead heading into Sunday. “You have to play a really good round tomorrow whether you’re two ahead or two behind.”
Stacy Lewis, ranked No. 2 in the world, shot a 69 and was tied with 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen, who shot 68, for second. Angela Stanford was fourth, three shots behind, after a bogey on the par-3 17th left her with a 70.
Pettersen seems to think with low scores to be had, Sunday can turn into a shootout.
“There’s a lot of great players right in the mix,” she said. “Cristie’s two ahead. I don’t think that’s a massive advantage. I mean, we’re all going to go out tomorrow and try to shoot as low as we can. It would take more than 10 under to win.”
Kerr, at 10-under 203, took command on a day when seven players shared the lead at one point or another.
“Saturday is definitely moving day, but I’ve got to look at it like I’m two back tomorrow because that’s when I play my best golf,” said Kerr, the 15-time tour champion who won at Kingsmill in 2005 and 2009. “I’m looking at it as moving day tomorrow as well because if you’re not moving, someone else is going to. That’s kind of where my head is right now.”
She’s also focused on avoiding being complacent.
“I know I have a two-shot lead, but a lead means nothing on Saturday. You need the lead after Sunday,” she said.
For much of the day, the busiest person at Kingsmill was updating the leaderboard.
Pettersen was among the early leaders, but a bogey after missing the fairway at No. 9 dropped her back and she managed only one birdie on the back nine. Lewis, her playing partner, rallied with three birdies after an early bogey.
“My round was pretty boring and pretty frustrating,” said Lewis, who has struggled reading the greens all week.
“I think we both kind of feel like we left a couple out there and there’s still a low one out there,” Pettersen added.
Several players looked to be going low Saturday before faltering.
When Lewis got to the 11th hole and saw she was still in the top five, she was surprised, but unaffected.
“The minute you think you can make a birdie, you’re probably going to make a double,” she said. “That’s just the way this course plays.”
No one demonstrated that better that Ilhee Lee, who had an eagle, five birdies, and bogey and two double bogeys.
She moved into the early lead when a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 8 moved her to 5 under for the day and 9 under overall, but she gave all five shots back on the first four holes of the back nine, including back-to-back double bogeys on the par-4 12th and par-3 13th. She finished with her third consecutive 69 and was four off the lead.
The best round of the day came early, with Lizette Salas’ bogey-free 65 vaulting her from 40th to a tie for sixth.
“I tried not to look at the leaderboard and just say, `You know what? Just go have some fun,”’ Salas said. “I think yesterday I was a little too conservative. I just did my style and attacked the pins.”
That style had served Thai 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn well, helping her lead the tournament after the first two rounds, but she had three bogeys and a birdie on her first four holes and fought a balky putter for a 73 to also be five back.