1999 Gallagher-Smith dominates
She shot a record for the three-day tournament and won her first LPGA title.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
WARREN -- Jackie Gallagher-Smith put together three of her best tournament rounds and the result was the 1999 Giant Eagle LPGA championship at Avalon Lakes Golf Course.
Gallagher-Smith earned her first-ever LPGA title by shooting a tournament record 199 for the 54-hole event, winning the $150,000 first-place check by three shots over runner-up Marnie McGuire.
The $150,000 first prize was a record for this tournament after the purse was raised to $1 million following the 1998 tournament.
McGuire, the second-round leader at 11-under par, finished three shots back after a disastrous double-bogey 6 on the 14th hole knocked her out of the lead with Gallagher-Smith.
Broke it by one: Gallagher-Smith's total broke the old record of 200, set in 1996 by two-time champion Michelle McGann, who also won that title by three shots over Kim Saiki.
Three golfers were deadlocked for third place at 12-under par: Australian Karrie Webb, Canadian Lorie Kane and Leigh Ann Mills.
Gallagher-Smith had rounds of 66 and 68 before recording a career-low 65 on Sunday. She played the entire tournament without making a bogey.
& quot;I know that is the longest that I've ever gone without making one, & quot; she said.
The champion also knocked her approach shot on the par-4 No. 7 hole into the cup for an eagle that ignited her charge.
Turning point: But the big turning point in the tournament came in the final round on holes 14 and 15.
Gallagher-Smith was playing the 15th just ahead of McGuire with one shot separating the pair. Gallagher-Smith sank a 14-foot putt for birdie, while McGuire struggled on 14. She hit her tee shot deep into the woods and was forced to take a drop. She chipped out and on the green, but missed a 12-foot bogey putt to fall four shots behind Gallagher-Smith.
& quot;I really only hit one bad drive all day, & quot; said McGuire, who still has never won on the LPGA Tour.
The 1998 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic champion, Se Ri Pak, was in a six-way tie for fourth place at 204 (11-under par).
Breaking from the pack: Gallagher-Smith shared the first-round lead with Marta Figueras-Dotti at 6-under 66. Eight golfers were packed in a second-place tie, one shot back at 67. That group consisted of Dottie Pepper, Lorie Kane, Cindy Figg-Currier, Missie McGeorge, Melissa McNamara, Michele Redman, Angie Ridgeway and Jan Stephenson.
McGeorge could have been the sole leader, but she was assessed a two-stroke penalty on the 18th hole for picking up a stone in a sand trap while her ball was still in the trap.
McGuire fired a second-round 65 to take over the lead. She led Gallagher-Smith, McGeorge and Redman by one shot going into the final round.
McGuire, an Auckland, New Zealand, native, had to wait over an hour longer to tee off Saturday when heavy rains hit the area and the course had to be made ready for play.