Ohio brings out the best in Pak
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Maggie Will thinks Se Ri Pak should buy a home somewhere between Toledo and Youngstown. At the very least, she saidl, Pak should get some sort of tax rebate from the State of Ohio.
"What's a tax rebate?" Pak asked.
Will, Pak and Marnie McGuire shared the lead going into today's second round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at 5-under-par 67.
"I don't know what it is about this state, but she certainly plays well here," Will said. "They could take away all the toll roads and get the money from her in taxes."
Four of Pak's LPGA victories have come in the Buckeye State, including the 1998 Giant Eagle title. Her other three have come at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic in Toledo.
Will's opening round 67 was just two strokes off her career best 65, which she shot in 1993. She hasn't won a Tour event since 1994.
"I know I had a 67 in Phoenix this year and my best finish was a 10th at McDonald's when my putts finally started to fall," said Will, "but that could have been better until Annika [Sorenstam] shot her [LPGA record] 59 and that kind of did me in."
Will said she remembers just about every hole of every golf course she's ever played, until she came back to Squaw Creek.
"It was like I was seeing this course for the first time," she said. "I don't think I remembered more than three or four holes the first practice round I had.
"I can't believe that I don't remember," she added. "It started coming back to me today and it's funny because I remember some firm greens, but this is still like playing on a new course for me."
Will's three Tour victories were the 1990 Desert Inn Classic, the 1992 Sara Lee Classic and the 1994 Children's Medical Center Classic.
Pak liked what she's seen of Squaw Creek Country Club.
"The conditions were perfect here Tuesday and Thursday and again today," she said. "I really like this course."
Pak said that just because she is the highest player on the money list in the field, it doesn't mean she should be the favorite.
"I always like my chances no matter who is in the field, but this is still a strong field with a lot of pretty good players in it," she said. "The thing about this area is that I feel very comfortable here and the people are so nice to me. I think it is going to be a lot of fun playing the next two days."
McGuire, who left the course immediately after her round and was unavailable for comment, battled Jackie Gallagher-Smith in the 1999 Giant Eagle Classic before losing down the stretch.
The Auckland, New Zealand native joined the Tour in 1998 after spending five years on the Japan Tour where she won five times.
Her career-best finish was a second in 1999.