Park grabs 2-shot lead in Mexico

Published November 10, 2012

| Sports Network

Inbee Park fired a 6-under 66 on Saturday to move two strokes clear of the field after three rounds of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Park, a 2-time winner this year, finished 54 holes at 15-under-par 201. She set the tournament's 54-hole scoring record by three strokes. Suzann Pettersen established the old mark of 204 in 2010.

Cristie Kerr posted a 5-under 67 to move into second place at minus-13. So Yeon Ryu also shot 67 and is alone in third at 12-under-par 204.

Second-round leader Angela Stanford managed an even-par 72. The 2008 champion fell into fourth place at minus-11, while Karine Icher is two strokes back at 9-under par after a third-round 69.

Candie Kung (71), 2009 winner Michelle Wie (67), Stacy Lewis (71) and Hee Kyung Seo (69) are tied for sixth place at 8-under-par 208 at Guadalajara Country Club.

Park got off to a fast start as she birdied the first two holes for the third straight round. That moved her alongside Stanford at 11-under par. Park converted her third birdie of the day on No. 4 to grab the lead by herself.

"I had a really solid day today. I had a really good start with birdies at Nos. 1 and 2," Park said.

The 24-year-old ran off six straight pars from the fifth and remained alone in the lead the whole time.

Park, the 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion, rolled in a birdie try at No. 11 to push her lead to three over Icher, Kerr and Stanford. Park birdied the 15th too and was two clear of Kerr, who had a pair of late birdies.

At the last, Park dropped in her sixth birdie of the day to cap a bogey-free round.

Park is not only vying for the win this week, she is also battling Lewis in the Player of the Year race. She is 58 points behind Lewis, who has won four times this season.

"I mean it's a really hard thing to do. I can't expect Stacy to play bad two events in a row," stated Park. "So I mean, even if I don't win Player of the Year, I've had a really great season and I'm really satisfied with myself and I'm just really happy with the season."

Kerr, who has four top-13 finishes in the four years of this event, traded a birdie for a bogey from the second. She started her climb up the leaderboard with a birdie on the par-4 fifth. Kerr converted back-to-back birdie chances at nine and 10 to get to 11-under.

The 2-time major champion moved within one of the lead thanks to birdies at 15 and 18. On Sunday, she will go for her first victory since the 2010 LPGA Championship.

"I just played really solidly all day. It feels really good to be close and tomorrow is going to be a fun day for everybody to watch," said Kerr. "I've worked really hard and you know, these last three days are the most comfortable I've felt on the golf course all year."

NOTES: Park has the 54-hole lead for the fourth time in her career, and the previous three all came earlier this season. She won one of the three events, but hasn't finished outside the top two in any of the three ... Catriona Matthew, the defending champion, carded a 4-under 68 to move into 15th at 5- under 211.

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