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THIRD PLACE After record day, Bader ready for more milestones



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



The 28-year-old has never played in the final group.

By BRIAN RICHESSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Beth Bader refers to herself as the little Iowa girl. Here she was playing in the same group with someone she has admired on the LPGA tour.

"I've never been in the final group before, period," Bader said. "Then to play with such a great player like Kelly Robbins ... I just tried to play my own game and hang in there."

The first-round co-leader with Robbins, Bader shot a 1-under-par 71 in the second round Saturday, joining Danielle Ammaccapane in third place at 9-under 135, three strokes off the lead.

"I'm having fun. I'm smiling. I'm enjoying playing with Kelly," said Bader, 28, a native of Davenport, Iowa. "I remember watching her in high school and college."

Bader shot a career-low round with a 64 Friday. She tried to emulate that performance Saturday, but bogeys at Nos. 4 and 10 dropped her back.

"I still had good opportunities. I had holes on the back that I had chances at," Bader said. "My putter was not as hot as it was [Friday]. I was still making good strokes."

Playing through it

Bader made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13-14. On 14, she dropped a wedge to a foot of the hole and tapped in. She finished her round with a birdie at 18.

"Today was more of a grind," Bader said. "I wanted to get the two shots back and was OK with shooting even [par]. I was not as nervous [as Friday] coming down the stretch."

Sitting just off the lead, Bader might be the underdog today. She might be the one to sneak up on the leaders for her first LPGA victory.

"I feel a lot more comfortable, being in this situation the last couple of days," Bader said. "It's all attitude for me, and really you have to stay positive."

Ammaccapane gained a share of the lead on the front side before a bogey at No. 10 and a string of pars to close the round.

She was involved in a rules discussion at No. 14, where she needed a free drop to separate herself from the cart path.

richesson@vindy.com




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