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Spain's Recari stretches LPGA lead

CARLSBAD, California (AFP) –

Beatriz Recari of Spain talks with her caddy during Round Three of the LPGA 2013 Kia Classic on March 23, 2013

Beatriz Recari of Spain talks with her caddy during Round Three of the LPGA 2013 Kia Classic at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California on March 23, 2013. Recari had an eagle and one birdie in a three-under par 69 to stretch her lead in the LPGA Kia Classic to two strokes.

Spain’s Beatriz Recari had an eagle and one birdie in a three-under par 69 to stretch her lead in the LPGA Kia Classic to two strokes.

Recari, seeking to add a second LPGA Tour title to the LPGA Challenge crown she won in 2010, had a 54-hole total of 11-under par 205 and a two-stroke lead over Australian Hall of Famer Karrie Webb.

Webb had six birdies, but her four bogeys included two to cap her round at 17 and 18. Her two-under 70 left her on 207, one stroke in front of South Korea’s I.K. Kim and American Paula Creamer.

Kim had five birdies and three bogeys in her 70, while Creamer notched four birdies and three bogeys in a 71.

Stacy Lewis, playing her first tournament since taking over the world No. 1 ranking, carded a three-under 69 to move into a tie for fifth place with fellow Americans Lizette Salas (70) and Cristie Kerr (71), on 209.

“The last time I was in the lead heading into the fourth round was when I won, so it feels good,” said Recari, who had a one-shot overnight lead over Webb and Creamer.

The Spaniard parred the first 10 holes, as Webb edged atop the leaderboard after countering a bogey at the second hole with five birdies over her next 10 holes.

Webb, who claimed the last of her 38 career LPGA victories at the 2011 Founders Cup, gave a stroke back with a bogey at 13.

But she drove the green at the 16th and two-putted for birdie to rebuild her advantage.

Recari also drove the green at 16, however, and drained her eagle putt to claim a share of first.

Webb then bogeyed 17 from the trees to the right of the fairway, and fell another shot back when she two-putted for bogey at 18. Even so, the Aussie veteran likd her position.

“Not every time that I give myself a chance to win do I win, but that’s where I feel the most comfortable,” Webb said.

“I like to have a chance to win and I’ve put myself in there with a good shot tomorrow. Because of my experience, I’m comfortable there.”

The tournament is without defending champion Yani Tseng, who was toppled from the No. 1 spot in the world rankings this week by Lewis.

Taiwan’s Tseng overslept on Wednesday and missed the tee time for her pro-am round, and was therefore disqualified from the tournament.

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