Kerr, Salas share Kia Classic lead

The Sports NetworkMarch 29, 2014 

Carlsbad, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Cristie Kerr shot 2-under 70 and Lizette Salas carded a 69 on Saturday to move into a share of the lead after three rounds of the Kia Classic.

Kerr and Salas ended 54 holes at 10-under-par 206. Kerr will go for her 17th LPGA Tour title on Sunday, and Salas will try for her first.

Second-round leader Dori Carter stumbled to a 2-over 74 to slide to minus-8. She was joined in third place by Ayako Uehara (67), Shanshan Feng (69) and Anna Nordqvist (67).

Stacy Lewis, who was paired with Carter, bogeyed three of the last five holes en route to a 1-over 73 at Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club. Lewis fell into a tie for seventh at 7-under 209 with Eun-Hee Ji (65), Lexi Thompson (70) and Chella Choi (70).

Kerr opened with four straight pars before dropping in back-to-back birdie chances at five and six to get within one of the lead. She parred three in a row from the seventh and found herself tied for the lead when Carter bogeyed the eighth.

Around turn, Kerr 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 10th. She was still tied for the lead as Carter birdied the ninth. As Kerr stumbled to a bogey at 11, Carter did the same on No. 10.

After four pars in a row, Kerr birdied the 16th to move two clear of Salas and Lewis. However, Kerr's third shot to the par-5 17th ran over the green and she failed to get up and down for par.

Kerr pushed her approach shot from the middle of the fairway into the water right of the green at 18. She was allowed to drop on the fringe, and Kerr poured in a long par-saving putt from there to end at 10-under.

"I was thinking, get it close and just move on and have a new day tomorrow, and it went in. I hit some kind of bad putts on the back nine, but that made up for it," Kerr said of her long putt at 18.

Salas started with six pars in a row before converting a birdie try on the seventh. After three more pars, Salas made birdie on the 11th to get within one of the lead.

At the par-3 14th, Salas converted her birdie chance to join Lewis and Kerr in the lead. Salas gave that shot right back at the 15th before making birdie on No. 17 to again grab a share of the lead.

"I felt like I left some putts out there, but I'm still hitting great shots and giving myself opportunities for birdie, and to be in this position, I feel good. I feel comfortable," Salas said. "Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day. We'll just see what happens. You know, another round in the 60s is a good thing, but I still feel like I left some putts out there, but that's golf. You've just got to shake it off."

NOTES: Salas closed with a 62 last year at the LPGA LOTTE Championship to get into a playoff, where she lost to Suzann Pettersen. That was Salas' best career finish on the LPGA Tour ... Laura Diaz and P.K. Kongkraphan both aced the par-3 third on Saturday ... Diaz also had an eagle on the fifth.

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