After third-round 67s, Little leads Daniel by 2 Bradley is third in McDonald's


ROCKLAND, Del. -- Shades of the early 1980s. Never mind the talented crop of new golfers, the veterans are in charge of the McDonald's Championship.

Sally Little and Beth Daniel each a shot 4-under-par 67, and Pat Bradley checked in with a 70, producing a 1-2-3 standing going into today's final round at the Du Pont Country Club.

Little, whose 1988 du Maurier victory is her only one since 1982, is at 203, followed by Daniel, winner of a dozen tournaments since the Greater Washington Open in Bethesda, Md., in 1989, 205, and Bradley, three wins shy of the LPGA Hall of Fame, 206.

Sherri Steinhauer (no wins going back to 1985), and Tammie Green (one win going back to 1986) shot 69 and 72, respectively, and are tied at 207. Five more are at 208, including 1987 and 1989 McDonald's winner Betsy King.

Between 1980 and 1983, Little, Bradley and Daniel were three of the top names in women's professional golf. Among them, they won 26 tournaments in that span. Overall, they have 68 LPGA triumphs, including seven majors.

While Bradley, 40, and more recently Daniel, 34, have been among the top names for the last decade, it has been a struggle for Little, 39.

"It's the ultimate position for me," Little said. "I have played so poorly for so long, I'm enjoying every minute of this," Little said in her soft accent, a throwback to her youth in South Africa.

"Psychologically, 60s [she has posted 67-69-67] put you on top of your game. I've been playing like this since Hawaii in February, but not getting anything out of it. This feels wonderful."

Little considered her round a real confidence booster because she had been having trouble with third rounds. Of the seven she had played before this week, there were a 71, a 73 and five scores ranging from 76 to 87.

"There is pressure playing with Pat Bradley, and I felt competitive with her and Cathy Gerring," Little said. "I held in there pretty well. And it is a wonderful feeling to see my name on the leader boards again."

With afternoon play under intermittent showers, Little played consistently, using superb long-iron play to set up five birdies, and a fat 4-iron shot at No. 15 led to her only bogey.

Bradley (four birdies, three bogeys) admitted struggling, especially on the greens, where she had trouble gauging the speed.

Pointing to her yo-yo effort of seven birdies, three bogeys, Daniel said: "I wasn't looking at leader boards. I was so up-and-down, my concern was to salvage myself -- keep it under par, keep myself in position.

"My short game hasn't been very good this week, and my swing doesn't feel comfortable. I've got a lot of swing thoughts going through my mind. When playing well, there are maybe one or two thoughts. Right now, there are about four, and they are all difficult technical thoughts."

She pointed out that she had hit it better Friday, when she shot par, than yesterday, when she shot 4-under. The difference was 34 putts Friday and 30 yesterday.

Asked if -- assuming she were a betting person -- she would put money on herself to win, she laughed and said: "I'm not sure I'd put my own money on me. Somebody else's maybe, but not mine."

NOTES: Halfway co-leaders Green (a 72 that included a double bogey at No. 10) and Ayako Okamoto (73, 208) slipped back. . . . Michelle McGann, who had a career-round 66 Friday, had 17 straight pars before bogeying the 18th. . . . Rookie Mary Anne Klinchock used a career-round 68 to get to 210. . . . After the top 5, there were only 5 other rounds in the 60s among the 74 players, 68s by Klinchock, King, Nancy Lopez and Dawn Coe, and a 69 by Caroline Keggi, who would have joined the others but for a bogey at the last hole.

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