DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Michelle Wie offset her mistakes with enough birdies Friday, shooting a par 72 that left her two shots behind and still in good shape at the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.
Mollie Fankhauser shot a 66 on the tougher Legends course, host of all the top players in the third round, and finished at 12-under 204. She has a one-shot lead over Japan’s Shiho Oyama, who had a 71.
Wie was another shot behind at 10-under 206 with Stacy Lewis, who made 12 straight pars until finishing with a birdie for a 71. Lewis won an NCAA title at Arkansas on the Legends course at LPGA International.
The 90-hole tournament concludes Sunday with 20 players earning their LPGA cards for 2009. If necessary, a playoff will determine the 20th spot. The field will be reduced to the top 70 and ties after the fourth round Saturday.
Wie had made only one bogey the first two rounds, but she drove into the hazard on the par-5 second hole, then three-putted when she finally reached the green for a double bogey. It was her first big mistake at Q-school, the kind of error that often leads to more trouble.
This time, however, Wie answered with three straight birdies. She started with a 10-foot putt on the fourth, an approach to inside 2 feet on the fifth and a 25-foot birdie on the sixth that put her back in the lead.
After six straight pars, she hooked her tee shot on the 13th into a hazard and made bogey. She got that back with a 12-foot birdie on the 16th but failed to save par from a bunker on the 17th.
The biggest move Friday belonged to Curtis Cup player Alison Walshe, who played the first two rounds in Wie’s group and was in danger of missing the 72-hole cut after rounds of 77-72. On the Champions course, Walshe was 7 under through 10 holes and settled for a 64 that moved her into a tie for 31st.
Sarah Kemp had a 65 on the Champions course and was tied for 20th at 3-under 213.