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Jang Leads by 3 Shots at Corning Classic

CORNING, N.Y. (AP) _ Even after shooting the low round of the day, Jeong Jang was surprised.

``I think I'm leading,'' Jang said.

Indeed, she was. Jang shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take the third-round lead in the LPGA Corning Classic. She was at 15-under 201, three shots ahead of Brandie Burton (70), first-round co-leader Nancy Scranton (70), and Thai rookie Virada Nirapathpongporn (71), who began the day one shot ahead.

Hee-Won Han (69) was another shot behind, and 2002 Corning champion Laura Diaz (67), rookie Morgan Pressel (68), and Kris Tamulis (69) were tied at 10-under 206.

Meena Lee (70), who shared the first-round lead, was among five players at 207, and 1988 Corning champ Sherri Turner was in a group of four at 208.

Jang was nearly flawless from tee to green, missing only one fairway and making 16-of-18 greens in regulation. The lone fairway she missed came at 18, and it led to her only bogey of the day.

``Every single hole I hit it really good,'' she said. ``It makes it easy. That's what I needed.''

Jang had one victory in her first six years on tour, but it came in a major _ last year's British Open. She also was in a three-way tie for the lead heading into the final round of the Office Depot Championship last year and tied for sixth.

``I like to be leading,'' said Jang, who led the tour in 2005 with 331 birdies. ``But I'm going to be a little nervous.''

Ditto for Nirapathpongporn. She began the day with a bogey and never mustered a charge as she did in shooting 66 and 67 over the first two rounds. Two birdies on the back nine kept her close, though.

``I kept plugging away and finally got my rhythm. I wasn't real comfortable on the front,'' Nirapathpongporn said. ``The nerves. I'm glad I got to do this today (begin the round in the lead), not tomorrow.''

Pressel, who missed eagle putts by inches at the two short par-5s on the front side in the second round, made eagle at both on Saturday. She hit an 11-wood inside 2 feet at No. 3, then sank a 40-foot putt than broke 4 feet right-to-left on the fifth. The gallery roared when the ball dropped in the hole and Pressel raised her arms in triumph as she walked off.

That left her at 10 under, but there was no charge on the back nine to match the 64 she had on Friday. Pressel had a three-putt bogey from 8 feet on the par-5 12th hole, which was lengthened 64 yards this year to 529, before making birdie at 16.

``That was crazy,'' said Pressel, who turned 18 on Tuesday. ``You just consider yourself very lucky. I couldn't get anything to drop after that. I really didn't feel like I played well today. I just got lucky. I have to be aggressive tomorrow.''

Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, who did not make bogey in the first two rounds, was at 9 under to start her first weekend round of the year, and strung six straight pars before running into trouble. She made double-bogey at No. 7 after being assessed a penalty stroke on the green, then bogeyed Nos. 9 and 12 and finished at 4-over 76, 10 shots behind.

The forecast for Sunday was calling for sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s, and that figured to make the short-and-narrow Corning Country Club course very forgiving.

``You're definitely going to have to go low tomorrow,'' Diaz said as she rocked her 4-month-old son Cooper in her arms. ``I'm just going to go out and see how many birdies I can make.''

Burton birdied the first two holes for the second straight day to surge into the lead, but she was unable to keep up the charge. She was looking forward to the heat wave.

``It's good for my body with all the surgeries I've had,'' said the 16-year-veteran, who has had eight operations in her career. ``The warmer the better.''

Divots: Pressel hit only 9-of-14 fairways and needed 32 putts, three more than Jang and six more than Nirapathpongporn. ... No rookie has won Corning in the tournament's 27-year history, but either Nirapathpongporn or Pressel could break that streak.
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