Sports Outside the Beltway

Going for the Slam- Se Ri Pak tied for the lead at the Kraft Nabisco

The Korean Golf Queen certainly looks to be on a mission this weekend. Se Ri Pak is tied for the lead after three rounds at the Kraft Nabisco.

RANCHO MIRAGE, California (Reuters) — South Korea’s Pak Se-ri moved into a tie for the lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen on Saturday, putting her within touching distance of a career Grand Slam.

Five-times major winner Pak shot a 70 in the third round of the LPGA’s first major of the season, a stroke better than Pettersen’s 71.

The pair share the lead at four under par 212, a shot better off than Meaghan Francella and joint overnight leader Paula Creamer on 213.

Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, who started the day tied for the lead with Creamer, slumped to a horror 77 that included a quadruple-bogey at the par three 17th.

Pak, who will enter the LPGA Hall of Fame at the end of this her 10th season on the Tour, needs only the Kraft Nabisco to complete the career Grand Slam of all four majors.

“This is one title that I would love to win,” she said after a round of four birdies, including one at the last from 35 feet.

“This is going to be a special year for me, and to win this major would be the perfect celebration.”

Pak has already won three LPGA Championships — including last year’s — as well as the U.S. and British opens.

Se Ri is playing great. If she shoots in the 60′s today, Se Ri will almost certainly win this thing. She is an excellent front runner, as can be seen by her playoff records. She is 5-0 lifetime on the LPGA tour. Three of those wins came in playoffs against another Hall of Famer, Karrie Webb.

If Pak wins the Kraft Nabisco, that will make it four active(and still formidable golfers) all having won the Women’s Grand Slam. Besides Webb, Annika Sorenstam and Julie Inkster have done the feat. All four of these golfers won LPGA tournaments in 2006.

Note- Only five golfers have won the men’s Grand Slam, and never were there more than two of them in the winner’s circle in the same year.

Anyone want to estimate how many Koreans will be watching the broadcast tomorrow morning Seoul time? If Se Ri pulls this win off, she’ll make a certain blogger look pretty smart in his predicting her to win this tournament over three months ago.

If anyone chases down Se Ri, you’d have to put your bets on the Pink Panther, Paula Creamer. She has already won in 2007 and is one of the best players on tour. Meaghan Francella would be a stunner if she pulled this off. With a win in Mexico and a high finish this week, Francella would already have a strong claim to LPGA Rookie of the Year. Pettersen is a good if unproven golfer.

Lorena Ochoa’s train wreck at 17 was painful to watch. Super Mex’s(Super Mex was an old nickname for Hall of Famer Lee Trevino) 7 on the Par 3 has almost certainly taken Lorena out of the tournament though Karrie Webb came from seven strokes back in 2006.

The one thing Se Ri has over all those chasing her is this- She is the only woman in the top 15 with a Major Championship under her belt. Se Ri looks very tough at the moment, I think she is going to win today.

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