Oakmont: American Paula Creamer pulled away from the pack on a marathon Saturday at Oakmont to take a three-shot lead in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open when play was halted due to failing light.
The 23-year-old Creamer, a winner of eight LPGA events but no majors, played 16 holes to finish her storm-delayed second round in one-under 70, and returned in the afternoon to go one-under through 13 holes when the horn sounded.
Creamer, who birdied the par-five 12th and bogeyed the par-three 13th just before leaving the course, was one-under par for the tournament -- the only player in red numbers at the famed layout that has hosted 12 majors.
“Today was a tough day,” Creamer told reporters after 29 holes on the tough inland links-style course.
“I got up at 5:30 this morning and it’s 9:00 now. At this golf course, 18 holes is hard enough let alone what we played today.”
American tour veteran Wendy Ward lies second on two-over for the championship, after being one-under through 17 holes in the third round.
Former LPGA Championship winner Suzann Pettersen of Norway birdied the 14th, her last hole of the day, to be a further stroke adrift.
Still on the course on four-over were overnight co-leader Brittany Lang (through 14 holes) and 20-year-old Amy Yang of South Korea (15).
Ninety-eight players had to return early on Saturday morning to finish the second round after thunderstorms on Friday pounded the Pittsburgh suburb.
Sakura Yokomine of Japan, who shared a one-stroke lead with Creamer at the end of the second round, faded in the warm, sunny afternoon to finish on six-over through 13 holes.
World number one Cristie Kerr trails Creamer by seven after 13 holes.
Thirty-three of the 68 players that made the cut were unable to complete their third round and will return for an 8 a.m. start on Sunday.
The leaders are expected to tee off for the final round at about 12:15 p.m. (1615 GMT), officials said.