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Columbus - Virginia junior women's golfer Leah Wigger shot even par 72 during the third round of the NCAA Championships to move into the top 20 on the leaderboard. After three days Wigger is tied for 17th at 6-over 222. The final round of the 72-hole event will take place Friday at Ohio State. Wigger will tee off at 12:20 p.m.
Wigger made a strong move during her third round and, thanks to back-to-back birdies on holes 12 and 13, was sitting at 3-under with three holes to play before some errant shots brought her back to even.
"It was a really good day for about 15 holes and the I fell apart a little bit," said Wigger, a Louisville native. "Overall, I played well and 72 will probably stand up as one of the better rounds today."
Wigger, who played in the morning session, was right. Only 19 of the 126 players shot par or better during the third round.
"I know Leah is disappointed with the way the day ended, but overall she played really well," said Virginia coach Jan Mann. "I said to her afterwards, `If I told you on the first tee you would shoot even par, you would probably take it. Well, that's what you did.'"
Wigger started the tournament with a 4-over 76 and shot 2-over 74 during the second round before her 72 Thursday.
"The past two days my ball striking has been better," Wigger said. "I've been a little more aggressive and swinging through the ball. Today I was getting a little closer to the pin."
Wigger, who was the runner-up at last year's NCAA Championships in the chilly conditions in Sunriver, Ore., said she will not let her closing bogies impact her during Friday's final round.
"It usually bothers me for five to 10 minutes and then I just put it behind me and move on. I can't do anything about it. I just have to go out and play better.
With just one player under par entering the final round, Wigger knows the tournament planners did a good job of making it a challenge for the players to break par.
"It is what I expected," she said. "The fairways are tight, the rough is thick and the hole locations are tough. It is what you want for a championship."
Pepperdine's Eileen Vargas remains the leader heading into the final round. Despite shooting 3-over 75, Vargas stayed ahead of the pack, but her lead shrunk to just three shots. She sits at 2-under 214 after 54 holes of play. Four players are tied for second at 217.
Duke, the nation's top-ranked team, posted its best round of the tournament, a 1-under 287 to grab the lead from Arizona State. The Blue Devils enter the final round with a 13-shot lead over second place Southern California. Duke's three-day total is 12-over 876.
Live scoring of the tournament can be found at www.golfstate.com.