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Robbins basking at the top



Published: Sun, July 21, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Kelly Robbins is gaining more confidence with every round.

That can only mean trouble for the rest of the field in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.

Robbins followed her opening round 64 with a 4-under-par 68 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the tournament with a 132, 12-under par total for 36 holes.

She leads South Korean Mi Hyun Kim by a stroke. The fourth-year tour player also shot a 68 to stand alone in second place at 133 (11-under).

Those two are being chased by veteran Danielle Ammaccapane of Phoenix and second-year pro Beth Bader. They are at 135 (9-under).

Ammaccapane shot a second-round 70 while Bader, who shared the first-round lead with a 64, shot 1-under Saturday.

Eight other players are within six shots of the leader, including two-time defending champion Dorothy Delasin.

Delasin shot a 3-under 69 for the second straight day and is at 138, (6-under).

Delasin has come from behind in both years that she has won the title, but both times it was from three strokes down, not six.

Relaxed

Robbins, who made five birdies and just one bogey in her round, said she played relaxed.

"I just tried to settle down and to see what my mood of the round would be today," Robbins said. "The course played a little longer and the greens were very soft and you could fly it right at the pin."

The course is ripe for low scores, Robbins said.

"I would not be surprised at any scores at six or eight under par at any time tomorrow," she said.

She also added that Saturday's tee time, which put her off at noon for television purposes, played to her advantage.

"Normally, the leader goes off in the last group of the day and with conditions the way they were today that would have meant a lot more footprints on the greens to putt through," she said.

Kim, who played in the same group with Robbins and Bader, both long hitters, said she was at a disadvantage.

"Both players were much longer than I was and I was always hitting longer irons or woods today," Kim said.

Kim, who held the lead by as many as two shots during the round, doesn't have a set number she'll try to shoot today.

"I'm just going out and try to do my best," she said.

The tournament cut was set at 144 -- even par -- with 78 players surviving.

Missing the cut

One of those who didn't survive the cut was LPGA Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez, who possibly played her final tournament round in the Mahoning Valley.

Lopez, who shot identical rounds of 74, finished the tournament at 4-over.

"I just couldn't make any putts fall out there today," Lopez said. "I hit the ball pretty good, but just didn't get anything close to the hole."

Another causality was two-time champion Michelle McGann, who finished at 145 and missed the cut by a stroke.

Three other former champions survived the cut, including 1990 champion Beth Daniel, who is in the hunt with a 7-under par 137. She shot 3-under on Saturday.

Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who won here in 1999, also is still in contention after shooting a 1-under par 71 to stand at 5-under for the tournament at 139.

Se Ri Pak, the 1998 champion who finished third here a year ago, was at 3-under par for the tournament after shooting a 2-under par 70.

Today's final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the 78 remaining players going off in twosomes from the No. 1 tee. The leaders are expected to tee off around noon. Television coverage on ESPN2 will begin at 3 p.m.




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