- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) - Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson know exactly what’s at stake Sunday at Mission Hills - for themselves and the attention-starved LPGA Tour.

“I think it’s great for the tour and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wie said Saturday after tying Thompson for the third-round lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

“I think Lexi is a really entertaining golfer. I like to think I’m somewhat entertaining as well. So, I think the both of us paired together is great.”

They’re each trying to win their first major title, a victory that would be a big boost to the tour that felt slighted and upstaged this week when Golf Digest put model Paulina Gretzky on its cover after long ignoring the top female players.

“I know people will be really excited about tomorrow’s pairing, but I’m not really going to worry about it,” Thompson said. “I’m just going to go out and have fun.”

The 24-year-old Wie shot a bogey-free 4-under 68 to match the 19-year-old Thompson at 10-under 206.

The popular Americans were teammates last year in the Solheim Cup.

“I really like Lexi,” Wie said. “I think she’s a really good girl.”

The two 6-footers are power players, though Wie has sacrificed some distance for control and has been hitting low-flying 3-wood stingers off a lot of tees.

“That’s kind of always been in my bag,” Wie said. “Kind of reintroduced it back into my game the last couple of months. It’s just something that I’ve always felt comfortable doing and I’ve played well on this golf course.”

Thompson, already a three-time winner on the tour, settled for a 69 after missing a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 18th. She also missed two short birdie putts on the front nine.

“I’m getting looks at birdies and just waiting for a few more to drop,” Thompson said.

Charley Hull, the Englishwoman who turned 18 last month, was two strokes back along with five-time major champion Se Ri Pak. Hull birdied the 18th for a 66, the best round of the day. Pak shot 71.

Both leaders said they were nervous.

“I probably won’t sleep that well,” Wie said. “It’s just the chance. You want something so badly. I dreamed about this all my life, so I’m just trying to not think about it so much. I’m just trying to think it’s a normal Sunday. … But I think that’s a good thing. It’s a sign that I’m really excited and I really want this.”

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