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Lewis pulling ahead in Classic
April 28, 2012

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Stacy Lewis will try to capture her second career LPGA Tour victory as she enters the final round of the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on Sunday with a two-shot lead. Lewis fired a 5-under 67 for the second straight day on the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Magnolia Grove to move to 14-under-parfor the tournament. She leads by two over her good friend and Rolex Rankings No. 12 Brittany Lincicome.

There are a number of other players bunched up at the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday's final round in Mobile. New mom Karine Icher sits three shots back at 11-under-par while Kraft Nabisco champion Sun Young Yoo and Lindsey Wright are four back at 10-under.

Looking to secure her first LPGA Tour victory since the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Stacy Lewis heads into tomorrow's final round with a two-stroke lead over close friend Brittany Lincicome.

Lewis notched two bogeys and seven birdies on Saturday to shoot her second consecutive round of 5-under par 67. After playing impatiently on the front nine, Lewis got things going on the back where she recorded five birdies including three coming on her last four holes.

"I actually felt really good warming up, and I got on the front and I think I was just really impatient and kind of tried to force things, tried to force some putts in and my speed wasn't very good," said Lewis. "I made the turn, and on 12 I was in the fairway bunker and hit a really good shot to about eight feet, and I don't know, that just seemed to really calm me down. I made birdie there and it just calmed me down and I hit some really great shots coming in, and then to two putt the way I did on 18 was just an added bonus, I guess."

Lewis missed her first cut of the 2012 season at last week's LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf but has rebounded this week to put herself in contention heading into Sunday.

"My goal every week is just to get myself in contention for Sunday and give myself a chance to win, and I did that," Lewis said. "So now I'm going to go out there and have fun tomorrow. But it would certainly mean a lot to win and just kind of prove to people that that major meant something."

Lincicome and Lewis are good friends who spend quite a bit of time together and often share housing while out on Tour. So the two didn't hide their enthusiasm about being paired together in the final round of the 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.

"It's going to be very exciting," Lincicome said. "It's fun to play with a friend because it kind of relaxes both of us. So going into it, we'll still be chit-chatting like we always do and just play tomorrow's round as if it were just a practice round on Tuesday and not hopefully be overly stressed or take it too serious and just go out there and have a good time."

The two players took part in one of the week's many off-the course events. On Monday night at the Mobile BayBears game, which is the Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lincicome threw out the first pitch at the game and Lewis was the catcher. The two players also took part in running the bases with the BayBears' mascot, Teddy, and they took part in a target practice game of throwing baseballs through a glass hoop.

Lewis wasn't afraid to chide Lincicome on Twitter over the pitch, which bounced in the dirt in front of Lewis. So will the two have any sort of trash talking about that going on during Sunday's final round?

"I love giving her a hard time about the first pitch, but we're going to practice for next time and we'll get better," Lewis said. "We did figure out afterwards, when we actually got to throw the ball around a little bit, she goes, 'You throw a lot better than I do.' So I'm definitely throwing next time."

The 2011 season was a shorter one than normal for France native Karine Icher. The 33-year-old gave birth to her first child, daughter Lola, last August. So this year has meant getting back on the golf course with some significant life changes for both her and her husband, who is also her caddy.

"It's wonderful," Icher said of being a mom. "She's cute, she's a good traveler, so we're lucky. But she is teething right now, so it's a little bit hard to sleep. For sure it's very nice to be mom and dad on Tour."

Icher will be paired in Sunday's final group with Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome, sitting three shots off the lead. The 10-year LPGA Tour veteran is still seeking her first career victory. She recorded her career-best runner-up finish at the 2005 Corona Morelia Championship.

"I'm struggling a little bit from the beginning of the year because I had a baby last year and it's hard to travel with her and get organized and everything," Icher said of her game. "So to be here, it's fantastic for me, give me more and more confidence. And we'll see tomorrow. I'm going to try to play my game and shot after shot and we'll see."

There have been lots of low rounds shot over the first three days of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic including Karin Sjodin's 64 on Friday which tied the tournament record. But Saturday it was Hall of Famer Karrie Webb's turn to tie the tournament record with an 8-under 64.

Webb joked that if anyone had seen her play on Thursday or Friday, they would not have expected to see her deliver this type of round. She tallied eight birdies in her bogey-free round, which included birdies on five of her first seven holes on the day. The round moved her from a T56 into a T6 at 9-under-par.

"I just wanted to go out there and -- I think actually, and this is the game's so silly sometimes, but I made birdie on 10, then I made about a six-footer for par on 11," Webb said. "And what I've been doing of late when I make that birdie is I'll miss that par putt, so I don't have that continuing positive momentum. So I made that putt, and with that, then I went on to make two more birdies on the next two holes. So I really feel like that was totally the key to my round today."

Last year Lexi Thompson entered the final round in Mobile tied for the lead at 7-under-par with Song-Hee Kim. It didn't turn out exactly how Thompson would have hoped as she shot a final-round 6-over 78 to finish in a T19.

Thompson went on to capture her first LPGA victory at another Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course last September at the Navistar LPGA Classic. And the now 17-year-old has talked about the lessons that she gained from the experience on the Crossings Course at Magnolia Grove last year. But Thompson will have another opportunity to be in the hunt in Mobile as she sits five shots back of Lewis heading into Sunday.

"The way I played last year [on Sunday] will help me out with this year," Thompson said. "Just go out and just free swing and take everything really slow, do my routine on every shot and just focus on that"

Thompson spent Friday night at the University of South Alabama baseball game since she knows one of the guys on the team. Her plan was to catch another game on Saturday. Perhaps she found a good formula for success?

"It was a lot of fun," Thompson said of the game. "It just got my mind off golf and it was just really relaxing."

One of the remaining spots in the field for the Sybase Match Play event in Gladstone, New Jersey on May 17-20 has already been locked up this week. Lindsey Wright, who was not already qualified for the event, secured one spot in the field as she sits at 10-under-par. The other spot will be determined after Sunday's final round since So Yeon Ryu and Sydnee Michaels are tied at 8-under par. The tie-breaker will be their score in the fourth round.

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