- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. (AP) - Kristy McPherson’s first LPGA Tour victory might just come in a major.

McPherson shot a 2-under 70 on a hot, calm Saturday to take sole possession of the lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at 8-under 208. Fellow American and 2007 U.S. Open winner Cristie Kerr (70) was one shot back at Mission Hills.

The 27-year-old McPherson, with six career top-10 finishes but no victories, is playing in the Kraft Nabisco for the first time. On Friday, McPherson and Christina Kim teed off before strong wind raked the Coachella Valley and jumped into a tie for the lead in the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season.

Kim faltered in the third round Saturday with a 75 and was five shots back.

Brittany Lincicome, whose 66 topped the first round, also shot a 70 to remain in contention, two strokes behind McPherson.

McPherson got a nice round of applause from the gallery _ and playing partner Kim _ as she crossed the bridge to the 18th green.

McPherson had a birdie putt for a two-shot lead but ran it just to the left of the cup.

On a day when nobody ran off with the lead, McPherson at least stepped up and put her name atop the leaderboard by opening the back nine with three straight birdies.

Defending champion Lorena Ochoa needed a birdie on 18 to shoot her best round of the tournament, a 72. She was tied for 15th at 2 over.

“For me, better,” the top-ranked Mexican star said. “I feel that I have a chance tomorrow and that’s what I will try to do, something special tomorrow.”

At the bottom of the leaderboard was Michelle Wie, who had another bad day with her second straight 9-over 81. She was at 17 over for three rounds.

Wie ended Friday at the cut line. She started Saturday by hitting her first tee shot out of bounds to the left, leading to the first of her three double bogeys. Her other two double bogeys came when she hit into the water on both par 3s.

Wie also had four bogeys and only one birdie.

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