-- There was a poor approach at 2, a three-putt at 8, an errant drive at 13 and a bogey at 18, signs for the first time in a long time that Annika Sorenstam may not be invincible. Then again, maybe she is.
With a 3-under-par 69 Saturday, Sorenstam extended her lead in the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course to five strokes over South Korea's Young Kim entering the final round. Barring an almost unprecedented collapse, by early Sunday evening, Sorenstam will be halfway toward accomplishing the goal that motivates her: the Grand Slam.
The pivotal moment Saturday occurred at the 330-yard par-4, 16th. Laura Davies was surging. The lead, once six, was down to three. But the long-hitting Davies went for the green, and the gamble backfired. Her tee shot landed in the high grass, leading to a bogey. Sorenstam, in the same pairing, made a five-footer for birdie. The two-shot swing put her in command once again. It was her 14th straight round in the 60s, an LPGA record.
Davies did not second-guess her decision at 16. She's naturally aggressive and insists it is the way she must play to have any chance.
"We were trying to win," Davies said, "and when you're trying to win, sometimes you mess up. Playing against someone as good as Annika, you got to try to do something a bit different. This is a hard golf course to be forcing."
Sorenstam has played with Davies many times. "I know what Laura is all about," she said. "Laura, it's all or nothing. I bet as a spectator she's a lot of fun to watch. I try not to watch too much. I would say she plays with her heart, and I like to say I play with my brain. That's the difference."
This is familiar territory for Sorenstam, who also enjoyed a five-stroke advantage entering the final round of the year's first major, the Nabisco Championship, which she won by eight. Yet, she is not ready to celebrate; after all, she has squandered a five-stroke lead on the final day before.
"I'm very happy with the way I played the last three days," said Sorenstam, who started the day with a two-shot lead. "Then again, nothing is over until it's over."
Sorenstam was cruising for much of the day, stretching the lead to six. At the turn, she was up by eight over Davies. But things became interesting, if only temporarily.
"It's almost like she's toying with us, like a cat and mouse there," Davies said.
"I wasn't toying with anyone on purpose," responded Sorenstam, who once again had trouble with the par 5s. "I had a lot of opportunities and nothing was happening. I kept telling myself, be patient, there's a long ways to go."
Many rounds took about four-and-a-half hours, a long time for twosomes. The CBS telecast ended before play did.
"I would like to take a gun and shoot the slow ones," Davies said. "It's pathetic. It drives me crazy. They stand over these putts for a quarter of an hour. Annika is the best player in the world and she's not slow. That should tell everyone something."
Kim, 25, who shot a second consecutive 68, is one of many talented Koreans on the LPGA Tour. Michelle Wie, 15, the first amateur to play in this event, shot a 1-under 71. She is tied for third, seven back, along with Davies, Jeong Jang, Moira Dunn and Natalie Gulbis.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Rain washed out the second round of the Bayer Advantage Classic in Overland Park, Kan., reducing the tourney to 36 holes for the second straight year. R.W. Eaks and Gil Morgan shot 5-under 67s on Friday to share the first-round lead.
* MARYLAND AMATEUR: Two-time Maryland Amateur champion Dave Rasley and former Maryland Open winner Mike Mitchell will square off today in the scheduled 36-hole match play final of the 84th Maryland Amateur at Norbeck Country Club in Rockville.
Rasley, a 57-year-old Bethesda resident, won this event in 1992 and '95. Mitchell, a 25-year-old Chevy Chase resident, won the Maryland Open in 1999.
Rasley defeated Grayson Hanes, 1 up, in the morning quarterfinal match then Michael Perlmutter, 3 and 2, in the afternoon semifinals to advance to the final. Mitchell beat Raymond Sheedy, 2 and 1, in the morning then beat Tim Kane, 3 and 2, in the afternoon.
* COLLEGE GOLF: Freshman Brent Davis of Montgomery College-Rockville won the National Junior College Division III Golf Championship at Chautauqua (N.Y.) Golf Course on Friday. His four-round score of even par 288 was three strokes ahead of Chris French of Illinois.
News services and staff reports contributed to this report.