Inbee Park’s 7-iron tee shot Saturday on the 168-yard 17th hole turned to the left on a perfect line at the back-left pin, landed softly and rolled to 2 1/2 feet for yet another birdie in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The 24-year-old South Korean, three strokes ahead with a round left in the first major championship of the year, admitted it wasn’t quite the way she planned it after watching playing partner Lizette Salas’s ball sail too far left and into a bunker.
‘‘It was actually a little bit of a mis-shot,’’ Park said. ‘‘I aimed a little more right, but I slightly pulled it and it ended up perfect.’’
Bogey-free in her last 22 holes at Mission Hills, Park shot her second straight 5-under-par 67 in tricky wind conditions to reach 12 under.
‘‘I feel really good about my swing and the stroke at the moment,’’ Park said. ‘‘I feel really comfortable around this golf course, too. That helps.
“Three good rounds, and I just need another one tomorrow. I was really used to the wind after yesterday, because we had a really similar wind. It was a lot easier to judge today.’’
She’s in position for her second major title and second victory of the year. She won the 2008 US Women’s Open and added her fourth LPGA Tour title in February in Thailand when Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-stroke lead.
Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the tournament winner in 2000 and 2006, was five strokes back at 6 under along with Suzann Pettersen, Angela Stanford, Jessica Korda, Karine Icher, and Pornanong Phatlum. Stanford had a 66, the best round of the tournament. Webb and Pettersen shot 67, Korda and Icher 68, and Phatlum 70.
Salas, a stroke behind Park entering the round, had a 69 to remain second.
Michelle Wie had a 73 to drop to 1 under. She has broken 70 only once in 17 rounds this season and is using an unorthodox putting stance with her torso bent parallel to the ground,
Top-ranked Stacy Lewis was 1 under after a 71.
PGA — Billy Horschel overcame the strong Texas wind and is one round away from his first tour win.
Horschel held off an experienced leaderboard to shoot 2-under 70 and take a two-shot lead entering the final round of the Texas Open.
Horschel, who also held the lead after the second round, battled through the gusting San Antonio wind to reach 10 under overall — two shots ahead of Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman.
The Florida native was second at last week’s Houston Open and extended his PGA Tour-best streak of consecutive made cuts to 21.
Rory McIlroy shot a 1-under 71 and is four shots back. McIlroy tied for the low round Friday with a 67, but he was inconsistent off the tee Saturday and had four birdies and three bogeys.
Furyk, playing the course for the first time this week — and after rain limited his practice round to four holes Wednesday — birdied No. 18 to cap a 3-under effort for the day to reach Sunday’s final pairing.
Ryan Palmer had the low round of the day, posting a 4-under 68.
Furyk, McIlroy, and Padraig Harrington, all major winners, are each within five shots of the lead.
McIlroy hit just seven fairways for the second time in the tournament, continuing his trend of up-and-down play this year after an offseason equipment change.
The two-time major winner, who lost the top ranking to Tiger Woods earlier this year, only signed up for the tournament late last week — in search of as many competitive rounds as possible entering next week’s Masters.
He opened with two birdies over his first three holes Saturday, climbing to 7 under and within a shot of Horschel, who had yet to tee off.
However, McIlroy fell back to 4 under with bogeys on Nos. 4, 10, and 11 before closing with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 to stay in contention entering the final round.