Juli Inkster ties course record to take lead in Sweden

Juli Inkster tied the course record with a 5-under-par 67 today and took a one-shot lead going into the last round of the Compaq Open.

Juli Inkster tied the course record with a 5-under-par 67 today and took a one-shot lead going into the last round of the Compaq Open.

The Hall of Famer from Santa Cruz, California had a bogey-free round with five birdies at Barseback in southern Sweden, a course that will host the 2004 Solheim Cup matches between the United States and Europe.

Inkster had a 54-hole total of 206, 10 under. Overnight leader Kirsty Taylor of England, joint runnerup in the British Open last week, dropped to second at nine under after a 69.

Inkster is playing in Sweden for the first time in her career. She brought her two young daughters, Hayley and Cori, to Europe and has managed to fit in a few non-golfing activities.

"We've been to Helsingborg Castle and the kids have been on a trip to Denmark," Inkster said of Sweden's southern neighbor which is within site from Barseback's three seaside holes.

Taylor, who'll play in the last group with Inkster on Sunday, has yet to win in Europe.

"I'm looking forward to playing with Juli," said Taylor, who highlighted her round with an eagle on the long fourth hole. "She's a huge name, but I don't think I'll be intimidated. She's only human after all."

Defending champion Laura Davies, who tied the course record about an hour before Inkster finished, shared third place at 211 with three Swedes, British Open champion Sophie Gustafson, Annika Sorenstam and unheralded Nina Karlsson.

Sorenstam, ranked second in the world, shot 71 and was unhappy.

"I missed so many putts," she said. "I hope they will drop tomorrow. I'm five strokes back, but that's not impossible. It feels like I'm close."

A former two-time winner of the Compaq Open, Sorenstam hit 15 greens but couldn't capitalize. She three-putted once.

Davies, who also had five birdies, kept her hopes of retaining an amazing record of an annual win in Europe since joining the tour in 1985.

"I know it's a long shot," Davies said. "But I'll be going for everything tomorrow. I am really desperate to retain my record."

Sherri Steinahuer, the other top American in the event, shot 71 for her best score so far and shared 15th at 216.

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