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Kerr up by 8 after 3rd round at LPGA Championship

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Cristie Kerr shot a 3-under 69 despite persistent rain Saturday and extended her lead to a tournament record eight shots after three rounds of the LPGA Championship.

Kerr, the top-ranked American seeking her second career major victory, opened the day with a five-shot lead at Locust Hill Country Club. Her advantage entering Sunday's final round tops the mark of seven set in 1961 by winner Mickey Wright.

Mika Miyazato double-bogeyed No. 18 to finish at 72 and fall into a three-way tie for second with rookie Azahara Munoz and Jimin Kang after both finished with 70s.

Kerr has played near-flawless golf since an opening 68 Thursday put her in a three-way tie for the lead.

On Saturday, Kerr took charge on the back nine while it rained for about two hours. After a bogey-5 on No. 10, Kerr responded with three straight birdies. She then bogeyed No. 14, but came back with an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 15th.

Kerr's run came after Miyazato, playing in the same group with Kerr, cut the lead to three strokes after she birdied No. 10 and Kerr settled for bogey after just missing a 15-footer for par.

With thunderstorms forecast to roll in early in the afternoon, officials moved up the tee times by 90 minutes, and had the players go off in threesomes and off both tees in a bid to squeeze in the third round. The rain began about noon, and grew heavier an hour later as the final group reached the 14th green.

The forecast for Sunday calls for the possibility of afternoon thundershowers.

After showing little emotion on the course during the first two days, Kerr was much more animated Saturday.

She was visibly scolding herself for hitting her tee shot into the rough on No. 14. Two shots later, she tapped her iron to her forehead after her chip shot to the green landed well short of the hole. Kerr also dropped her putter in frustration after coming within a few inches of sinking a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 ninth.

Kerr is a 13-time LPGA Tour winner — her only major win came at the 2007 U.S. Women's Open. She opened the week fifth in the world standings while already enjoying a solid year in which she's posted three top-three finishes, including winning the State Farm Classic two weeks ago.

A win Sunday would put Kerr in a position to challenge Ai Miyazato for the top spot in the world rankings. Miyazato shot a 70 for a 54-hole score of 1-over.

Jiyai Shin, the No. 2 ranked player, shot a 70 to move into a tie for fifth with Song-Hee Kim (69). This is Shin's first tournament since an appendectomy two weeks ago.

Only three Americans have won the past 13 majors and only five of the past 33 tour events — with Kerr winning two of them, including the Michelob Ultra Open in May 2009.

Kerr finally showed a few signs of struggle after carding just one bogey through the first two rounds.

She bogeyed the par-4 second hole after just missing the green near the pin and following to slide her chip seven feet past the hole. Kerr rebounded with birdies on the next two holes, both times draining 15-foot putts.

Munoz got as low as 3-under for the round before a bogey-5 on No. 14. She birdied the next hole but gave back a shot with a bogey-6 on 17. Munoz closed her round with a par-saving, 8-foot putt.

Also playing in the final threesome was Inbee Park, who struggled to a 75 to fall 2-under for the tournament.