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Rookie Se Ri Pak claims fourth LPGA Tour crown



Published: Sun, July 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



She won when veteran Dottie Pepper missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

WARREN -- Se Ri Pak, the most heralded LPGA rookie since Nancy Lopez, captured the 1998 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Avalon Lakes Golf Course.

Pak, who won for the fourth time in her first season on tour, had to hold off veteran Dottie Pepper, who missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the final hole which would have sent the tournament into a sudden death playoff.

Pak's 15-under total of 201 for 54 holes won her first place prize money of $120,000, while Pepper took home the second place check of $74,474.

Pak, who went on to win LPGA Rookie of the Year honors, was only the second golfer since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win as many as four tournaments in a season. Lopez holds the record with nine wins in 1978.

Trailed by three

Pak trailed Pepper by three shots going into the final round and made up the difference and held a one-shot lead going to the 18th. Pepper birdied the 17th hole right behind her to forge a tie, but Pak reached the 18th par-5 in two and two-putted from 15 feet for a birdie.

Pepper, standing out in the 18th fairway, miscalculated and thought Pak made par on the 18th hole.

She also reached the green in two, but was some 60 feet away and slid the putt some four feet past the hole. She then missed the four-footer, but still thought she was going to a playoff until her caddie informed her that she had finished second.

Pak became the fourth different winner of the event since it was moved to Avalon Lakes in 1993.

Robin Walton finished in third place with a 13-under par 203 total. Three golfers shared fourth place including Kelly Robbins, who shot a final round 65 and finished at 204 along with Leta Lindley and Pearl Sinn.

Defending champion

Defending champion Tammie Green, who was five months pregnant, finished at 210, while 1993 champion Lopez was at 211. Two-time winner Michelle McGann finished at 216.

Pak was among the first round leaders as she was one of four players to fire a 7-under par 65. The others were Green, Becky Iverson and Alicia Dubos.

Pepper, who had an opening round of 67, burned up the course in the second round, shooting a tournament record 8-under par 64 and took a two-shot lead over Kate Golden going into the final round.

While Golden fell behind early, Pak made up the difference quickly in the final round.




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