EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Lorena Ochoa moved into position for her second straight victory and fifth of the season, shooting a 7-under 64 in rainy conditions Saturday to take a four-stroke lead in the Canadian Women’s Open.
The top-ranked Mexican star, coming off her first major victory two weeks ago in the Women’s British Open, had a 14-under 199 total on the Royal Mayfair course. She opened with rounds of 70 and 65 and hasn’t made a bogey in 40 holes.
“I had a really good day today, Ochoa said. “Tough to play in the rain, but I actually love the rain. It’s been good to me. For some reason I just feel very comfortable. I started with a birdie on my second hole and gathered momentum from there. So here I am, in good position for tomorrow, and that’s all that matters.”
Paula Creamer (66) and Laura Diaz (68) were 10 under, Ya-Ni Tseng (67) followed at 8 under, and Juli Inkster (73) and Kimberly Hall (72) were 6 under. Shi Hyun Ahn, tied for the lead with Inkster after the second round, had a 74 to drop to 5 under.
“I made a lot of good putts,” Creamer said. “I missed a ton of opportunities out there but considering the weather, I’ll take 5 under.”
Ochoa, a stroke behind Inkster and Ahn at the start of play Saturday, had five birdies in a front-nine 30 and added two more birdies on the back nine to match the course record set by Karrie Webb on Friday. Ochoa had a chance to break the record, but her 15-foot putt from the fringe on 18 stopped inches from the hole.
“I was thinking about the course record,” Ochoa said. “It didn’t happen, so I have one more day tomorrow. … I’m an aggressive player. I was trying to make a lot of birdies and I don’t regret that. That’s the only way you can really shoot low and do something that they (the fans) can remember.”
Ochoa and Creamer will play in the final group Sunday.
“Everybody knows she’s the No. 1 player in the world,” Creamer said. “But I don’t think it’s intimidation. I have a lot of respect for what she’s done in women’s golf, what she’s done in Mexico. But at the same time, I’m still out here trying to compete, and I think I have a good chance of winning tomorrow.”
Alena Sharp topped the three Canadians left in the field, shooting a 67 for a 4-under 209 total. The Hamilton, Ontario, player had three birdies on the back nine.
“I’m full of adrenaline right now, playing the back nine and shooting 3 under. I need to make sure I get rest and I stop thinking about golf,” Sharp said. “I felt like I didn’t have a lot of pressure going into today because I was eight shots back, but shooting a good round today, maybe there’s a little pressure for tomorrow.”
Nancy Harvey of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, was 2 over after a 70, and A.J. Eathorne of Penticton, British Columbia, was 4 over after a 72.
U.S. Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr, the winner last at London Hunt in Ontario, was 11 strokes back at 3 under after a 71.