Rosie Jones had the magic in her fingers, and Nancy Lopez had the look in her eye. But rookie Pamela Wright had the moxie to birdie three of the final four holes and take a one-stroke lead over Jones and Lopez Saturday in the third round of the LPGA's $300,000 MBS golf tournament at Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park.
Wright's five-under-par 67 put her at 10-under-par 206. Lopez and Jones shot 65s. Cindy Rarick, one of three leaders after the second round, is two shots off the lead after a 70. Colleen Walker made a strong move with a 69 and is three shots away. Beth Daniel shot 69 and trails by four.
Pat Bradley and Amy Alcott, the other two leaders when the Saturday round began, both shot 73 and fell five shots back. Myra Blackwelder also lost a shot to par and is at four under.
Wright, 25, grew up in Scotland but attended Arizona State, where she was twice Pacific 10 champion.
Her best LPGA tournament was in Corning, N.Y., where she finished tied for sixth.
Wright isn't concerned about her lack of experience approaching the final round. "I won't be intimidated," she said. "We're all just golfers. We all know how to play."
At Nashville in April, Wright was in her best position of the year entering a final round, four shots behind leader Kathy Postlewait. Wright was paired with Lopez for the final round, as she will be today. Lopez shot a final-round 70 to finish tied for third. Wright shot 75 to finish tied for 28th place
Lopez, who began the day two shots off the lead, got pars on the first eight holes. On No. 9, a 475-yard par five with a pond guarding the front of the green, Lopez made a birdie from eight feet. She left the green with a look that caused one member of the gallery to say, "She's going to take off now."
Well, Lopez birdied the next two holes, making putts of five and eight feet. She eagled the par-five 12th after hitting a three-wood to within three feet of the hole. She parred the 13th, then birdied the next two from short range.
"Nancy has been hitting the ball real well for two days now," said her husband, Ray Knight. "It was just a matter of time before the putts started going in."
Lopez said, "I played well yesterday, but missed five putts under five feet."
Rosey Jones, in her eighth year on tour, has been a consistent contender since the 1987 season, when she won the Rail tournament in Springfield, Ill. She won three times in 1988, but her best finish this year has been a tie for fifth at the first tournament of the year, in Jamaica.
Jones shot nine birdies in her seven-under round of 65, her best round of the year.
A little fatherly advice came Jones' way before the start of the third round. "I have a lot of relatives around here and they were saying, 'Go out and shoot a 69, or go out and shoot a 67.' My dad said, 'Go out and shoot a 65.' "