Green's fortune turns on birdies to close the gap
Tammie Green sank a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 16, and a 25-foot uphill putt on No. 17, to climb within two strokes of the lead.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- While Se Ri Pak's score reached 10-under par a few holes in front of her, Tammie Green chose to concentrate on straight shots and birdie opportunities.
After making birdie on No. 10 to climb to 6-under, Green encountered several close-call putts over the next five holes but couldn't close the gap.
Finally, her luck turned on the 16th green when she sank a 7-foot birdie putt.
Green's good fortune continued on No. 17, when she bagged a 25-foot uphill birdie putt to climb to 8-under, two strokes behind Pack after two rounds of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.
Likes her spot: "This is where you want to be on Saturday," Green said after a 5-under par 67 gave her a two-day total of 136. "All in all, I played really good golf out there. I feel like I stroked the ball well and just didn't get the ball in [the hole] enough.
"I had the [birdie] opportunities and I was fortunate that six of them fell in," Green said. "I'm looking forward to [today]."
Green will go for her third victory in the Valley when she tees off with Pak and Sherri Steinhauer, who was in second place at 7-under.
Green won the Youngstown-Warren LPGA Classic in 1994 and the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in 1997.
"She's playing real well," Green said of Pak, who won this tournament in 1998. "She's a great player and she has a good pace, which should help me. She hits a lot of fairways and greens.
"She's been owning Ohio and especially Toledo," said Green, who's won seven times on the LPGA Tour. "I am hoping that she doesn't bring it to this side of the state."
Close birdie calls: Green made five consecutive pars on 11 through 15 and had two very close calls for birdies.
Green wasn't sure why her group, which included Dorothy Delasin and Dina Ammaccapane, fell behind by about a hole-and-a-half around No. 8. They were aware they were being monitored and asked to speed up their play by Tour officials.
"We were on the clock out there and I felt like I might have rushed a few shots a couple of times," Green said. "There was not enough time" because the Squaw Creek greens require concentration.
"You really have to get the line of putts with the breaking putt line," the 41-year-old native of Somerset said.
"When you are in that situation where you're behind and you're trying to catch up to the next group, you don't give yourself enough time, although I did come close on most" of her birdie attempts.
Into the rough: As for those near birdies, Green's second shot on the par-5 No. 13 went into the rough to the left of the green, and her chip shot sailed about 15 feet past the cup.
On her birdie try, Green stroked the ball 2 inches to the right of the hole.
Her fate was similar on the following hole, the par-4 No. 14. Green's try rolled about 2 inches high.
Her downhill attempt on No. 15 was at least 3 feet short, but her 7-foot putt one hole later launched her into sole possession of second place.
Makes uphill putt: Green's tee shot on No. 17 went wide right outside the ropes. After hitting the ball onto the green about 30 feet from the pin, she earned a roar of approval when she sank her 25-foot uphill putt to go to 8-under.
Green said she feels as relaxed as she has all year.
"I played well in Toledo and then a few weeks ago in Atlantic City. I'm not getting as uptight and forcing shots as I was in the beginning of the year."
Green, who finished fourth once when the Youngstown Phar Mor Classic was played at Squaw Creek a decade ago, said, "This is a fun golf course to play.
"You have to draw the ball, cut the ball and actually slice the ball on a couple of holes. You have to play smart golf and stay below the hole."
Green said she noticed the holes were drying out late in the afternoon.
"It's going to be hard to keep the ball below the hole [today] unless we get a little moisture tonight."