Ochoa primed for repeat in Safeway International

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SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. --- Lorena Ochoa moved into position for her second consecutive Safeway International victory and second win in three starts this year, shooting 4-under 68 on Saturday to take the third-round lead.

After outdueling close friend Angela Stanford, Ochoa will be paired with Jee Young Lee on today at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club.

"It'll be a fun day," said Ochoa, a stroke ahead of Stanford and Lee.

"She (Lee) hits the ball very far. She jokes to me she beats me with the driver. (Sunday) will be a good laugh to see who hits farther."

Stanford followed bogeys on 13 and 14 with two finishing birdies for 70. Lee fired her third consecutive 67.

At 16-under 200, Ochoa matched the best 54-hole total since the tournament moved to Superstition Mountain five years ago. Annika Sorenstam also was 16 under in 2004 on her way to a course record 18-under 270 total, matched last year by Ochoa.

Ochoa, the HSBC Champions winner this year in Singapore, is seeking her 16th victory in her past 48 starts since 2006 and 19th overall LPGA Tour win.

The six players within six shots of her have a combined four LPGA Tour victories. The closest rival with similar experience was Sorenstam, seven strokes back after a 71.

But Ochoa dismissed talk that the tournament was over.

"It's going to be a tough day (Sunday)," she said.

Nobody, however, owns Sun-days like Ochoa these days. "It's all about experience," she said. "It's the way you feel on Sunday. You like to be under pressure."

Ochoa birdied four of the first five holes to steal the lead from Stanford, who shot a Prospector Course-record 62 Thursday to open a three-shot lead over Ochoa.

"It was a good day," Ochoa said.

Stanford, a winner once in seven years on the tour, said she felt comfortable paired with Ochoa, who she regularly competes with in basketball and bowling.

"But you can get caught up with what somebody else is doing," Stanford said. "Especially when she's getting a boatload of birdies."

She'll play in the second-to-last pairing today with Inbee Park, who tied Grace Park for the low round of the day, 65, and was four shots back.

"If I can stir it up early, she'll have to watch that all day," Stanford said.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Palm Coast, Fla., Bernhard Langer birdied his first two holes at the Ocean Hammock Golf Club, then avoided the mistakes that plagued his closest rivals Saturday in the Ginn Championship.

The two-time Masters Tourna-ment champion was one of only two players without a bogey Sat-urday on the windy Oceanside course. He shot 6-under 66 to reach 11-under 133 and move two strokes ahead of career club pro Lonnie Nielsen (69).

Fred Funk (69), tied with Langer with three holes to play, made a bogey at No. 16 and a double bogey at No. 17 to fall into third at 8 under.

Two peers of Langer's in the Hall of Fame, Nick Price (67) and Ben Crenshaw (68), were 5 under along with Joe Ozaki (65) and Mark McNulty (69).

Langer has won twice in 10 career starts on the Champions Tour. A winner of 63 worldwide events, Langer is taking his play on the Champions Tour seriously -- evident by his four top-10 finishes in five starts this season.

"I don't prepare, why am I out here?" the German star said. "I expect my best. I'm going to give 100 percent, the same way I do most things in life."

Langer made two short birdie putts to jump-start his round, added two other short birdie putts later on the front nine, then birdied No. 12 from 15 feet and No. 14 from 18 inches to build his lead.

Nielsen and Funk, who will play with Langer in the final threesome again today, also expect no less from Langer.

"I can't afford any mistakes because the way he's playing, Bernhard's not going to make any," Funk said. "He's really tough this week."

Ian Woosnam struggled again in his first Champions Tour start, following his opening 78 with 75 to finish 9 over.

EUROPEAN TOUR: In Puerto Banus, Spain, defending champion Lee Westwood shot 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over three players after the third round at the Andalucia Open.

Westwood had birdies at the first five holes to move to the top of the leaderboard at 12-under 204.

"I'm going to play a round under the pressure of trying to win tomorrow, and that's what I wanted," Westwood said.

The English Ryder Cup player sank putts of 6, 12, 15 and 8 feet by the fourth and two-putted from 20-feet at the par-5 fifth.

Oliver Fisher rolled in a 35-footer at the par-4 18th to finish with a bogey-free 67. The 19-year-old is at 11-under 205.


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