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PAST CHAMPIONS Lopez not at her best, but feels she's playing better



Published: Sat, July 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Beth Daniel shot 4-under to stay in contention.

By JAYME RAMSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez is one of seven past champions in this year's Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.

Friday, Lopez finished the first round at 2-over-par 74.

On the front nine, Lopez birdied one hole and did not bogey.

She was 3-over par after completing the back nine, and shooting par except for a triple bogey on the 10th hole.

Lopez, who won the 1993 Youngstown-Warren LPGA Tournament, did not compete in last year's event.

"I made a good shot but then I had to come in and triple [bogey]," Lopez said. "The rest of the time I played well. It wasn't a bad day besides that first hole. I hit the ball well."

Lopez acknowledges that she is playing better this week than she has been, and does not think the rain had any effect on her game.

"We always expect rain on the LPGA Tour," Lopez said. "It always seem to rain."

Only two in Hall of Fame

Lopez and Beth Daniel are the only two of the seven returning champs who have been inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Other returning champions in the field are two-time champions Dorothy Delasin, Tammie Green and Michelle McGann plus Jackie Gallagher-Smith and Se Ri Pak.

Daniel finished at 4-under par 72. She had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine and a birdie and a bogey on the back nine. She also had an eagle on the 13th hole.

Daniel won the Squaw Creek Country Club tournament in 1990, and did not compete at last year's event.

Gallagher-Smith also is at 4-under par 72. She had four birdies on the front nine and one on the back nine. She bogeyed one hole on the day.

Gallagher-Smith won the 1999 event at Howland's Avalon Lakes and tied for 37th at last year's tournament.

Pak fashions 71

Pak finished at 1-under par 71. She birdied two holes on the front nine and one on the back nine. Pak fell behind on the back nine after bogeys on the first two holes. She won in 1998 and finished third at last year's tournament.

McGann finished the day at 1 over par 73. She birdied a hole on the front nine and bogeyed one. She bogeyed a hole on the back nine.

Delasin shot a first round score of 69, five shots behind the leaders, and 3 under par.

She was 2-under par after nine holes and 1 under par after 18 holes. She birdied two holes on the front nine and two holes on the back nine. She had a bogey on the back nine. Delasin has won this event the past two years.

Green finished with a score of 76 and 4 over par. She was a double winner in 1994 and 1997 and finished second at last year's tournament behind Delasin.

jramson@vindy.com




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