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Two share lead at 64



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



Beth Bader and Kelly Robbins have a one-stroke lead after the first round of play at Squaw Creek Country Club.

By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Second-year pro Beth Bader never has been in this situation before while 10-year pro Kelly Robbins has many times.

Those two shot 8-under-par 64s in opening rounds here Friday to share the lead in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.

Bader, of Eldridge, Iowa, and Robbins, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., both blistered the course and set records for the lowest round in tournaments at Squaw Creek.

They held a one-stroke lead over Korea's My Hyum Kim and Phoenix native Danielle Ammaccapane, who posted a 7-under-par 65.

Back two more strokes are tour rookie Natalie Gulbis and Jung Yeon Lee of Korea, who both fired 5-under-par 67 totals.

Thunderstorm hit

All except Ammaccapane played during the morning round before a thunderstorm hit the golf course and suspended play for more than two hours.

Play was officially stopped at 1:57 p.m. with about 30 golfers completing their rounds.

The stoppage came when lightning was sighted in the area. Heavy rains followed, dropping six-tenths of an inch of rain on the course.

Play resumed at 4:14 p.m.

"I really feel great," Bader said. "Everything went well today. Nothing went really wrong, although I had one mix-up on a par-5.

"I putted phenomenal," she said. "I contributed a lot of good iron shots, too. I've been working on a couple of things like keeping my hands forward because then the swing back will be much better."

Tied tourney record

Bader had 10 birdies in her round, which equaled the tournament record for most under-par holes in a round. Still, she played the par-5 holes in 1-over-par.

"I'm a long hitter and I think I actually put too much effort into them," she said. "I think I played it smart, but I hit it too hard. It's something I really need to figure out. To me, the par-5s should be to my advantage."

Robbins had two eagles, something that she can't remember doing before.

She made eagle on two of the three par-5s on the front nine as she holed out a 50-foot bunker shot on No. 5, and then hit driver and 3-wood to four feet on No. 8. She also birdied the other two par-5s to go 6-under on the par-5s for the day.

"I think I might have done that before, but I don't have a very good memory for things like that," Robbins said.

Robbins said that she was glad to have finished before the storm.

"They said it was coming," she said. "I think most of us knew having and early tee time could be very advantageous.

"I thought the greens were pretty soft anyway and you could putt through a lot of footsteps already. This will set us up for a rough go this weekend," she said.

Kim having success

Kim, who joined the LPGA in 1999 and has three victories, is enjoying one of her best seasons. She has six top 10 finishes including three seconds, one of them being the U.S. Women's Open.

"I played the entire weekend last week in Toledo without a bogey," she said. "Today's round could have been better as I had three or four putts lip out on me."

Ammaccapane, who had just teed off on the eighth hole when play was suspended, said the course played much longer after the rain.

"I was just busting drives out there this afternoon and wherever they landed what all you were going to get," Ammaccapane said. "I know that there were a lot of footprints on the greens, and those are only going to get worse for the players that still were out there."

There was a big crowd at 4-under-par 68 as six golfers posted that total, including former champions Jackie Gallagher-Smith [1999] and Beth Daniel [1990].

The others are Tina Barrett, Maria Hjorth, Patty Rizzo and Lisa Kiggens.

Two-time defending champion Dorothy Delasin, who is trying for a three-peat this year and to become only the seventh player in LPGA history to accomplish that feat, posted a 3-under-par 69.

Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez, the 1993 champion who is making her farewell tour this year, posted a 2-over-par 74. She played the final 17 holes in 1-under after making a triple bogey seven on her first hole, which was No. 10.

The field will be cut after today's second round to the 70 lowest scores and any ties for the 70th spot. Today's television coverage will be on ESPN2 from 2 to 4 p.m.




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