Cristie Kerr has been known to walk in a few putts during her sensational 20-year LPGA career. She confidently followed her 12-foot birdie roll on hole nine to assume the outright lead on Saturday at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
After making just four birdies in round one, Kerr made nine on Friday and seven in round three at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Kerr will take a one-stroke lead into the final-round at 15-under, 198. Shanshan Feng stands at 14-under while Sei Young Kim is in third place at 11-under.
“I found a feel in my swing yesterday and it has made a big difference,” said Kerr. “I made some big par saves on the back. I definitely hit it better and when I give my putter chances, usually I do okay with that. So it’s been fun the last couple days.”
On the tenth hole, Kerr hit an excellent recovery shot from the right rough with her ball sitting on top of a tree root. Unfortunately, she had a rare three-putt bogey to drop back down to 13-under.
Kerr, 40, dueled with defending champion Shanshan Feng, 28, the rest of the back nine.
The 19-time winner reassumed the lead with a birdie on the par-5 12th. She hit her wedge from 76 yards to 6-feet and birdied to get to 14-under. Feng missed her birdie chance to the right from 10-feet to remain at 13-under.
Kerr hit a beautiful approach to 8-feet on 14 and rolled in another birdie to build a two-stroke lead at 15-under.
After ten straight pars for Feng, she drained a 17-footer for birdie on 16 to pull within one of Kerr. After hitting her second in the water on 16, Kerr made a critical 10-foot par putt to hold the lead.
My ball-striking wasn’t as accurate, but I think overall, 3-under, bogey-free round is still a very good score for Saturday,” said Feng, who still has not made a bogey this week. “I’m just feeling comfortable here. I’m not really trying to think about that bogey-free thing. I just want to keep the good playing going.”
Both Kerr and Feng traded pars on holes 17 and 18.