Purdue leads USC by 7 shots at women's NCAAs

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Purdue shot an 8-under 280 Thursday to take the lead after three rounds of the NCAA women's golf championships.

The Boilermakers, who trailed by eight shots after 36 holes, took a 7-stroke lead on Southern California, the leader for the first two rounds. Purdue's total through three rounds is 6-under 858.

Southern Cal shot 7-over 295 at the Country Club of Landfall for an 865 total after three rounds.

Alabama and defending champion Arizona State are at 7-over 871, 13 shots behind Purdue.

Purdue strengthened its lead with a strong finish. The Boilermakers' top four made three birdies and an eagle on the 18th hole. Each scoring player shot a round at least 1 under par.

Jennifer Johnson of Arizona State maintained the individual lead, shooting 2-under 70. She finished with a birdie on the 18th hole to take a 1-shot lead over Oklahoma State's Caroline Headwall, who shot 68 despite bogeying the ninth hole, her final one of the round.

Johnson has maintained at least a share of the lead since the first day. She is at 9-under 207.

Hedwall had the lead late in the round, on the strength of four consecutive birdies. She and Johnson are the only players in the field with three consecutive rounds under par.

Southern Cal's Jennifer Song, one shot off the second-round lead, shot 72. She and Purdue's Maude-Aimee LeBlanc trail Johnson and Hedwall by three shots.

The final round is Friday at the 6,368-yard Pete Dye Course.