Tammie Green misses her share of top spot by inches
Tammie Green was close on birdie and eagle attempts which, if the balls had dropped, would have meant a share of the lead.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Tammie Green, two-time winner of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Avalon Lakes Golf Course, came within inches of earning a share of the first-round lead of this year's tournament.
Green birdied her next-to-last hole to finish with a 3-under-par 69, two strokes back of the leaders.
"I do like my position," Green said. "I felt like I played well, and gave myself some make-able putts. They just didn't drop today."
Two others with Ohio ties -- Ohio State graduate Suzy Green and Laurel Kean of Mentor -- also shot 69s.
Nursing a 2-under score after 15 holes, Tammie Green left her 40-foot birdie putt just wide on the par-4 seventh.
Missed eagle: Minutes later, the 41-year-old Somerset native nearly scored an eagle as her 25-foot downhill putt hit the edge of the cup on No. 8 and rolled by.
"It just went right over the edge," said Green, the 1994 winner of the Youngstown-Warren LPGA Classic and the 1997 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic. "It was coming right back into the hole and just didn't get there. I had a lot of putts like that today.
"I came close on 7 when I burned the edge," Green said. "Same on 5. Those dropping in, that's what it takes to win a golf tournament. Today, they didn't do that. Maybe tomorrow."
Green said the greens "are pretty tough to read and it all comes down to making the putts. I thought they were fair enough.
"There aren't too many pin placements out there that are going to be flat, but the way I look at that is everyone has to play the same golf course."
Close: On the par-3 ninth, Green came within inches of another birdie.
"The greens were a little faster on Tuesday than they were today," Green assessed. "By Sunday, I expect it to be back to that speed. We had the rain in between and I think it slowed it down just a little bit.
"If it stays great weather with a little bit of wind, it's going to dry them out some more. I expect them to be pretty fast."
Green said she considers Squaw Creek to be a "fair golf course. If they hit good shots, then they are rewarded. But if you hit a bad shot, then you pay the price."
Mucha at 70: Parma Heights native Barb Mucha shot a 3-under 34 on her first nine before finishing with a 2-under 70.
"It was a good day," the 39-year-old resident of Orlando, Fla., said. "Any day you shoot under par, it's a good day. I think it was a good start."
Mucha estimated she competed seven times at nearby Avalon Lakes and said she prefers Squaw Creek.
"I think [this] is more of a shotmaker's course," said Mucha, a five-time LPGA champion. "You've got to think your way around it. Avalon is a little bit wider open. They're both good courses, but I prefer a tree-lined course."
Mucha said playing close to her hometown doesn't pose a challenge, except "there's pressure to get tickets for everybody."
Redmen gets 71: Among the other Ohioans playing, Salem native Michele Redman fared the best with a 71. Middletown's Marianne Morris finished at par 72.
Cleveland native Mary Kay Marino and Kalida's Amy Langhals Kalida both were 2-over with 74s while North Canton's Faith Egli shot a 78.
Two others -- Kathy Cassesse of Willoughby and Jeri Reid of Avon Lake -- withdrew from the tournament after shooting 88 and 92, respectively.