SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) — Morgan Pressel squeezed eight birdies out of her third round to move into contention at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
And she’s talking like she’s not done.
“I’m going to go out firing tomorrow,” Pressel said after shooting a 7-under 64 Saturday to pull into second place, two shots back of four-time Farr champion Se Ri Pak. “I found the birdies today. Hopefully I can find them again tomorrow. They’re out there somewhere.”
Pak started the day five shots clear of the field and with a seven-stroke advantage on Pressel. Her 69, after rounds of 63 and 68, put her at 13-under 200. At the end of the third round, Pressel was the only player within five shots.
“It’s really a birdie-makers’ golf course out there and I made plenty today,” said Pressel, who became the youngest major champion in history when she took the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. “So I have to go find some of those and see what happens.”
Pressel’s 64 followed rounds of 68 and 70 and left her at 202 after a blustery day at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Although Pak is just 29, the Sunday’s final pairing will feature a Hall of Fame qualifier and one of the sport’s rising young superstars. Pak has won 23 tournaments, including five majors, while the 19-year-old Pressel is one of the young faces who will carry the tour for years to come.
Pak wasn’t conceding anything, either.
“Hopefully after 18, I’ll take my glove off and be holding the trophy,” she said.
After Pressel rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt on the closing hole, her 5-year-old cousin, Mikaela Schulz, ran onto the green and gave her a hug. Pressel picked her up and toted her to the scorer’s tent while a large crowd surrounding the 18th green and cheered.
Mikaela thought the 64 was due to her offering of ice cream.
“Yesterday I wasn’t playing well. After 14, I walked over and she was having some ice cream so I took a bite and I made a birdie on that hole,” Pressel said with a laugh. “I had a couple of bites today, too. The first time I made birdie again. I had some after 7 and I made birdies at 8, 9 and 10 in a row. So she thought it was all her.”
For much of the day, it appeared Pak would run away from the field. Her wins at the Farr have come in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003.
She faltered only once Saturday — a three-putt bogey at the second hole — then consistently hit fairways and greens and stayed out of trouble. At the par-4 fourth hole, she hit her approach 35 feet below the hole and then holed the birdie putt.
She had two more birdies before her wedge shot to the green at the par-4 16th was hit by a gust of wind, hit a tree limb and dropped straight down. She failed to get up and down to save her par.
Meanwhile, Pressel was climbing up the leaderboard. Even on the day through seven holes, she had three straight birdies beginning at No. 8, then added birdies at Nos. 12, 14 and 17.
“I knew that she had a pretty good round today,” Pak said. “It’s pretty surprising because the weather out there was really hard. You don’t think anybody is going to go really low. But she did. So it must mean she had a really hot putter.”
At the same time that Pak was missing a short birdie putt at 17, Pressel dropped in another birdie putt at the 18th to draw within a shot.
Pak then hit two 3 woods just short of the green on the closing par-5 hole, chipped to 4 feet and stroked the birdie putt in the heart of the cup.
In-Kyung Kim, who said she idolized Pak while growing up in South Korea, was the first to challenge Pak. Kim birdied the first seven holes to get to 9 under and two shots off the lead before Pak had even teed off.
“That was my first time to birdie seven holes in a row, so that was pretty cool,” she said. “I kept making birdies. I thought maybe I could shoot 57 today! I made seven birdies in a row, like, what’s going on?”
But she cooled off, suffering a costly bogey at the 12th when she drove into the right rough. She finished with a 65 and was alone in third at 205.
Alena Sharp, who had a first-round 65 only to shoot a 74 on Friday, bounced back with a 67 and was fourth at 206.
Another shot back were 1988 Farr champ Laura Davies (67), Laura Diaz (68), Carri Wood (70), Linda Wessberg (66) and 2004 Farr winner Meg Mallon (70).
Pak said she’ll play the course, and not against Pressel.
“I don’t think I have to do anything — just play like I’ve been playing the last three days,” she said. “My game is solid enough to just play comfortably. I’m trying to not make too many mistakes and play one shot at a time.”