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Will Pernilla Lindberg's first win be a major?

Minjee Lee stormed into calculations with her best of the day 64 (Photo: Bruce Young)
Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg is poised to win not only her first major championship but her very first title as a professional when she takes a three shot lead into tomorrow’s final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Golf Club in Rancho Mirage in California.

The Orlando based 31 year old outshone her playing partner, Sung Hyun Park, in her round of 70 today after Park had threatened to establish a significant lead herself when she had moved two clear through 11 holes.

Park however would almost inexplicably drop five shots in her next five holes and eventually finish in a share of 3rd position at 10 under and four behind Lindberg’s lead.

Lindberg was trying to keep things in perspective when asked in her post round press conference how she was handling the nerves given what is at stake.

“I felt calm out there. I had fun. I went out there today and said, "How often do you get this chance?" So I'm just going to enjoy it, and that's what I did.

“I've been on Tour long enough to still be in a lot of heated moments. I just keep collecting experience each and every year around here. I've played a lot of golf in my life, and I just feel like the pieces are kind of falling together. I'm just letting it happen."

In between Lindberg and the players in a share of 3rd place is former US Junior Girls Amateur Champion, American Amy Olson, whose round of 68 today moved into outright second place courtesy of her own good play but also the demise of Park.

A 4th place finish at last year’s Tour Championship was proof positive that Lindberg can handle the sort of expectation on her tomorrow.

“I felt that was kind of a turning point last year. I wasn't happy with my season last year, and I just got into CME at the end there, and I had such a good week. I finally got to prove to myself that I belong at the top.

“My coach was there the whole week. He was taking pictures of the leaderboard all day Sunday, and he said, "If you ever doubt yourself again, I'm going to show you these pictures." I felt that was a great week for me.”

Tied in 3rd place with Park and certainly not out of it are her fellow countrywoman Inbee Park who herself impressed today with a round of 67, England’s Jodie Ewart Shadoff and Charley Hull, Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn and American Jennifer Song.

Another former US Junior Girls Champion is Australia’s Minjee Lee who stormed to the edge of contention with her round of 64 moving from the cutline of 1 over par to 7 under with a round that was two shots better than anyone else could muster on day three.

Lee finished her round even before the leaders had hit off on day three and faced the media afterwards.

Lee is aware of the expectations of others and herself on performing more consistently in major championships and said so.

“I mean, everybody wants to perform well in a major. I mean, I probably haven't quite performed as well as I wanted to over the past couple years in the majors. But, yeah, I'm always getting experience from all the tournaments that I've played. But, yeah, everybody wants to perform well, so I'm definitely trying to peak.”

Hannah Green, playing her first major championship, is the next best of the Australians in 41st place after a round of 70 and Sarah Jane Smith is 58th.

 

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