WILMINGTON, Del. -- The first two days of the LPGA Championship, Laura Davies played long-ball at the 18th hole, cutting a dogleg by going over trees, a hazard and a bunker to the middle of the fairway.
The 265- and 285-yard drives set her up for a birdie and a par at the 399-yard finishing hole of the Du Pont Country Club.
So yesterday, with a three-stroke lead in hand, she opted for the more conventional 2-iron/7-iron route. Result: Double bogey and a one-stroke lead going to the final day.
Putting a positive spin on the subject, Davies, bidding for a third straight Du Pont victory, said, "There's nothing you can do about it. Now, it's anyone's game.
"With a three-stroke lead, you think you should win. With a one-stroke lead, anything can happen.
Davies, 1993 McDonald's champion and 1994 LPGA Championship winner, finished at 2-under-par 69 for a 54-hole total of 8-under-par 205. Kelly Robbins, the second-round leader, birdied two of her last three holes for 72-206. She was followed by Patty Sheehan, a former McDonald's and LPGA Championship winner, 72-207.
"Shame about that; just unfortunate," Davies said of her last hole. "The tee was about three paces forward of where it had been; the trees were a little taller from that angle, and since you lose distance getting extra height -- it didn't seem worth it.
"Besides, I'm thinking 2-iron/7-iron/putt--birdie." The 2-iron was fine, but she pulled her 7-iron shot, hit a bad chip short of the green, chipped again, and two-putted for six.
Until then, she was riding four birdies in five back-nine holes.
Robbins, 25, still seeking a victory in her fourth tour season, had three bogeys through No. 15 before closing strongly.
"It was a very tough day for me as far as any momentum," she said. "Basically, no putts. I had a lot of good rolls, but nothing went until the 20-footer at 16, so I'm pleased to still be in the ballgame."
Sheehan, bidding to join Hall of Famer Mickey Wright as the only four-time winner of this title, was 3-over after three holes, even after nine, and 1-under after 14 before slipping back with bogeys at 15 and 17.
On the 15th green, Robbins was preparing to putt when she saw a bee in the bottom of the cup. Sheehan, with a one-handed baseball grip, hammered the luckless insect -- getting nothing but bee.
It turned out to be a bit disconcerting for both players, and they missed short par putts. Later, a rules official had them relate the incident to be sure there had been no infraction.
Dottie Mochrie and Marianne Morris were three shots off Davies' pace at 208, trailed by Allison Finney, Julie Larsen, and Barb Thomas at 209.
Michelle Estill (212) had the day's low round (67), and Nancy Lopez (212) rallied late with an eagle-birdie-birdie finish for 68.
NOTES: Only Kathy Whitworth, another member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, ever won the same tournament three years in a row, turning the feat at the Orange Blossom Classic in St. Petersburg, Fla., 1968-70. . . . Kim Williams, of Bethesda, the lone Marylander still in the chase, slipped back with 75-218.