By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- As the final round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic came to a close, it became clear that a returning champion would win.
It just wasn't clear which one.
Dorothy Delasin, Tammie Green and Se Ri Pak finished 1-2-3, perhaps overshadowing a strong showing by the weekend's other returning champions. With the exception of Michelle McGann missing Sunday's cut, all the returning champs posted scores under par.
Deb Richard, who won the Phar Mor in Youngstown in 1991, finished tied for 15th -- her season-best -- after shooting 3-under on Sunday. She finished 5-under par for the weekend. A birdie on No. 17 was the day's highlight.
"That took a good round and made it into a great round," Richard said. "The greens are difficult and I missed a ton of opportunities, but I'm really pleased with how I played."
Missed last year: Richard missed last season's Giant Eagle Classic because of tendinitis in her hip, but noticed quite a few differences between Avalon Lakes and Squaw Creek.
"This is more of a ball-strikers course," she said. "It's a great course, with small greens and lots of undulations."
When Richard last played at Squaw Creek the finishing hole was a par-3. This year's course finished with a par-4.
"I have to admit, now that I've played the course the past few days, I really miss not finishing on a par-3," she said. "I still have lots of great memories."
Betsy King, winner of the Phar-Mor in 1992, shot her second consecutive 69 to finish at 5-under, good enough to tie for 24th. King just couldn't recover from shooting 3-over on Friday.
"It's tough to climb back in a three-day event," King said. "But I played well again today. If I had putted better I could have finished higher."
Tied for 37th: Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who won the only LPGA event of her career at Avalon Lakes in 1999, shot 1-under for the weekend to finish tied for 37th. She shot even par on Sunday. After playing at the redesigned Avalon Lakes course last season, Gallagher-Smith said she preferred Squaw Creek.
"They really tore up the course at Avalon," she said. "It was totally different. I really enjoyed this course and I played pretty well. I just had two boo-boo's that cost me."
Those mistakes came on Nos. 3 and 13. But she didn't let those miscues overshadow her weekend.
"I still feel like I have a lot of support in this area," she said. "People know a little more about me than the norm."
Beth Daniel, the 1990 Phar-Mor winner, and Nancy Lopez, who won in a playoff three years later in the first Avalon Lakes event, did not play this week.