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Returning champs play well



Published: Sun, July 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Two-time winner Tammie Green was two back of the leader; Michelle McGann missed the cut, however.

By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Only one of the former Valley golf tournament champions competing at this weekend's Giant Eagle LPGA Classic won't be walking the Squaw Creek Country Club course today.

Michelle McGann, the 1995 and 1996 winner of the Youngstown-Warren LPGA Classic, shot a 73 during Saturday's second round to finish at 5-over par 149.

The cut was made at 147.

Two former champions lead the pack. Se Ri Pak, the 1998 winner at nearby Avalon Lakes, leads everyone at 10-under.

Tammie Green, the 1994 and 1997 winner also at Avalon Lakes, is two back Pak at 8-under.

Dorothy Delasin, last year's winner at Avalon, is at 6-under.

Staying alive: Betsy King, who won the 1992 Phar Mor in Youngstown in a playoff at Squaw Creek, shaved six strokes off her Friday round of 75 to stay alive.

King's short birdie putt on No. 18 gave her a 69 and brought the 45-year-old Hall of Famer back to even after two days of play.

"I hit the ball better," said King comparing Saturday's round to Friday. "I think I hit maybe one bad tee shot and missed two greens.

"As the round went on, I felt I gave myself some opportunities. Three birdies, no bogeys -- it was much better. I had a lot of shots within 20 feet. I could have made some more, but I made two putts for par."

King said Saturday's cool temperatures and wet grounds made the course "play a little bit longer."

"As the round went on, it dried out a little bit," King said

Nine years after her victory here, King says she has few memories of her triumph.

"It was so long ago that I just remember the playoff," King said. "I can't tell you what my rounds were or what the winning score was."

Bad round: Jackie Gallagher-Smith, the 1999 winner at Avalon, shot a 73 Saturday to fall to 1-under after two rounds.

Gallagher-Smith said she was disappointed with her play Saturday, especially on the front nine.

"I hit 14 greens in regulation and putted like I don't know what," Gallagher-Smith said. "I hit the ball more solid today and scored worse."

Deb Richard, winner of the 1991 Youngstown Phar Mor, shot her second consecutive 1-under 71.

"I played really solid today," the 38-year-old Richard said. "I made a couple of good par putts, but I missed a lot of good birdie opportunities today.

"I'm at 2-under and I'm playing all right. Hopefully tomorrow, I can convert the putts and go a little deeper."

Hard to read: Richard agreed the Squaw Creek greens "are difficult pins with some slope around them.

"And the hard part is that you hit a putt and it breaks across the hole, and on the next hole, you see a little break then it doesn't move.

"It's tough when they're not falling to convince yourself as you go from hole to hole exactly what the right lines are.

"I thought I hit a lot of good putts and I rolled over high side and low side. That's the frustrating part of playing here where you really have to keep your patience."

Ten years after her win here, Richard said she surprised herself by remembering "the holes, but not the details of the greens. I don't remember the greens having so much slope and being so difficult."

Beth Daniel, the 1990 winner, and Nancy Lopez, who won in a playoff three years later in the first Avalon event, are not playing this week.




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