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Robbins' hot start could snap slump



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



By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Kelly Robbins hasn't won an LPGA tournament since 1999, but she knows she's close.

This might be this week she ends her slump.

Robbins fired an opening round 8-under-par 64 Friday and shares the lead in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic with Beth Bader.

Both golfers played in the morning round and were finished before a thunderstorm hit the area, suspending play for more than two hours.

"Obviously it's good to get off to a really nice start," Robbins said. "I've been playing really [well]. I just haven't been making a whole lot of birdies."

She solved that problem when she carded a pair of eagles on the front nine at Squaw Creek Country Club on holes No. 5 and No. 8, both par-5s.

"A couple of eagles are unusual, but I won't argue with them," Robbins said. "I'm overall pleased. I didn't make a lot of mistakes and never panicked. I just tried to play the game today and see how many birdies I could make."

Strong start

She made five birdies to go with those two eagles and had just one bogey on the par-4 No. 11 hole when she drove into the fairway bunker.

"I've been playing really well, but I haven't done a lot of really good things to put me into any type of real contention," Robbins said. "So I've just tried to stay as patient."

She doesn't know why she has played poorly this season.

"If I'd have known, believe me, I would have fixed it," she said. "It's not like I practiced any different, but you just lose a little confidence.

Still, Robbins has had some top 20 finishes this year and thinks she's close to a breakthrough. She wasn't really surprised at shooting 64.

"I have had rounds in the past where I shot some real easy looking low numbers and rounds without many mistakes," she said.

"It was one of those rounds today," she said. "I think I was due for a break and it just happened to be this morning."

Attitude change

Bader, the second-year pro from Eldridge, Iowa, decided to make an attitude change this week and it seemed to pay in big dividends.

"It's my second year, some ups and downs. It's not going where I want it to," she said. "I need to chill out, relax and have some fun with it.

"The more upset and frustrated you get, the harder it is to play. No point in pouting all day so I decided to change my attitude a little bit."

The 64 was Bader's career-low round. Her previous best was a 66 in the first round of this year's Corning Classic. She shot 77 in the second round.

"I was nervous that week and I had a microphone on me for television," she said. "I'm not one of those believers in superstitions. I'm not going to jinx myself or wear the same socks tomorrow. I just try to walk away positive."




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