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QUESTIONMARK

Long wait nearly breaks Irwin's chances. Golf roundup / C9

216)
Amy Alcott 69-65-68--202
Kathy Postlewait 68-68-68--204
Patty Sheehan 72-64-68--204
Nancy Lopez 68-70-70--208
Alice Ritzman 73-68-67--208
Missie McGeorge 73-66-71--210
Jane Geddes 72-72-67--211
Tammie Green 76-67-68--211
Elaine Crosby 73-71-69--213
Deb Richard 71-70-72--213
Caroline Keggi 70-71-72--213

PITTSFORD -- Considering what a difficult season it has been for Amy Alcott, it's no surprise the LPGA great is enjoying every minute of this week's $400,000 Rochester International.

Alcott is in position to win for the first time this season after shooting 68 Saturday to maintain a two-stroke lead entering today's final round.

Her 14-under-par 202 total over the Locust Hill Country Club course leads defending champion Patty Sheehan and veteran Kathy Postlewait, both at 12-under 204.

After making seven birdies for a second straight day, the 34-year-old Alcott displayed the confidence that comes with having 28 career victories, 12th best in LPGA history.

"This is a helluva a lot of fun," said Alcott. "This is why I play golf. When I'm in control of my game, I can do anything. I'm hitting the ball the way I want. Nothing surprises me. I can birdie 18 holes in a row."

Alcott was in such a good mood, she entertained reporters with a five-minute impersonation of the former Saturday Night Live character Roseanne-Roseannadanna.

Alcott, who needs two more wins to meet the requirement for entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame, stands 64th on this year's money list with just one top-10 finish.

She said her mind has not been fully on her game due to the fact her mother learned she has lung cancer earlier this year.

"My mother has been very ill, and I haven't really talked about it in the press," she said. "I've been very tired emotionally and kind of wrung out. When somebody very close to you is ill it's like you want to deny it. . . . I think I have a little bit better grip on it now. The past three or four weeks I've played very well."

Alcott would have been in more comfortable shape if it weren't for a double-bogey on the par-4 14th hole. Her second shot, a 3-iron, hit a tree and landed on rocks along a creek in front of the green. "I might have hit it, but there were rocks down there and I didn't want to break my wrist," said Alcott, who took a drop and a penalty stroke.

She rebounded by making birdie on the par-4 16th and par-5 17th.

Both Sheehan and Postlewait shot 68.

Sheehan, who has 22 career wins, stands second on the money list this year.

"I played very well the front nine and snap hooked it all around the back," she said. "I don't know what it was but I'll go home and have a drink and forget about it."

Postlewait, 40, has been on tour 17 years but has enjoyed her best success of late, with finishes of 13th, 11th and 17th on the money list the past three years. She has four career victories, three the past three years.

"I'm playing the best golf of my life the past three or four years," said Postlewait, who has lost some distance but relies on a strong short game.

The only others within sight of the lead are Nancy Lopez and Alice Ritzman, tied at 8-under, six behind.

Alcott, Sheehan and Postlewait were the final threesome Saturday and will play together again today, teeing off at 12:30 p.m.

"We threw birdies at each other all day today," Sheehan said. "I think you'll see a real shootout tomorrow."

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