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Adapting to greens will be test for Teske



Published: Thu, July 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



This is the Australian's first visit to the Giant Eagle Classic.

By BRIAN RICHESSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Whether Rachel Teske can string together back-to-back LPGA tour victories might be dependent on how well her putter attacks the Squaw Creek Country Club greens.

Making her first visit to the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, Teske has been adapting herself this week to the tour stop. She's also been trying to get a feel for the smaller greens that force golfers to land the ball in a limited number of prime spots.

"I don't know a great deal about the course, but I still feel like I'm hitting it well," said Teske, 30, an Australian. "The greens are a little different this week, so I'm hoping my putting will carry over."

Farr winner

Teske was good enough on the greens last week to win the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, her sixth victory in her sixth year on tour.

"I was pleased with how well I played and how well I putted on Saturday and Sunday," Teske said. "I was fortunate to hit it great and make a lot of putts on the weekend."

Interestingly, the last time Teske noticed a difference in greens from one week to the next, she had trouble adapting.

"When I won in Phoenix [on March 14-17] and went to Tucson, the greens were really different and I really struggled," said Teske, ranked fifth in LPGA putting average at 28.81 per round.

After winning the PING Banner Health in Phoenix, Teske tied for 62nd at the Welch's/Circle K Championship in Tucson, Ariz.

"The greens are a lot different," Teske said of Squaw Creek, in comparison to last week's tournament at Highland Meadows Golf Club in suburban Toledo.

"It is much spongier [here]," she said. "Some of the greens are stopping really well and some seem to take a big bounce first and then stop. But the course is in great shape. We'll just see how it goes this week."

Teske has been hitting the ball consistently over the past couple of months, with the big difference being her putting.

Techniques

"I've been working on a couple of things with my putting for a while," said Teske, who has been using visualization techniques. "My putting has improved a lot over the last month or so."

That showed last week when Teske was rolling in 10- to 20-foot birdie putts on her way to victory.

"If that's the beginning of something, then I feel like I can really have a good streak," Teske said.

"But just when you begin to make everything and you think you've got it right, it falls on you," she said. "I'm not ready to think I'm going to putt good forever."

Teske seems to have momentum on her side, having come from behind last week to beat rookie Beth Bauer and fellow Australian Karrie Webb.

Still, Teske, who tees off at No. 1 Friday morning at 9:20, realizes the challenge of winning in consecutive weeks on the LPGA tour.

"You never really know," she said. "You have different greens and things like that. At the end of the day, when you score well, you putt well.

"I won't really know whether I can carry it over until I tee it up."

richesson@vindy.com




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