BETHESDA -- Hollis Stacy, buoyed by the confidence only a victory can bring, shot a 2-under par 69 in the first round of the LPGA Championship at Bethesda Country Club yesterday. It was a total bettered by only seven players.
Stacy, in her 18th LPGA tour season, has won four majors including three U.S. Women's Opens, and ended a six-year victory drought when she shot 69 the last day to take the Crestar-Farm Fresh Classic in Chesapeake, Va., earlier this year.
"I'm very happy," she said at the time, as she collected th $60,000 check. "It has been very frustrating, but what are you going to do? You're only human. You can only do your best. And I never lost faith in myself. I never doubted I could win again."
Now, six weeks later, after a tie for eighth in the Centel Classi and solid efforts at the Lady Keystone Open and McDonald's Championship, she is bringing a renewed interest to the golf course.
"I have wanted to win another major, and I knew I would have t win something else first just to feel those emotions again and remember how to handle them.
"Winning put me on a high, and I think I'm still there. I needed th confidence that win gave me."
Stacy, 37, noted that this round was a big improvement over year ago, when she missed the cut.
"This was different for me, and I have a lot better feeling," sh said. Last year, I had tendinitis in my left shoulder and I saw a lot of places short and left."
This time, she went 2-under on her first nine (back side) bogeyed the third and fifth holes to fall back to even, then birdied two of the last three with putts in the 12- to 15-foot range.
After a career that has brought her 18 tour wins and $1.5 millio in earnings, she is familiar with a position among the contenders.
* Baltimorean Tina Barrett said she was hitting it as well as she hadthe last several weeks, but she brought a better attitude to the first day of play.
At the end, she posted a 1-under-par 70. In 14 previous start this year, she had a better first-round score only twice, both 68s.
Her tour of the well-conditioned and demanding 6,246-yar layout included four birdies, with the longest putt a 10-footer, although she called a six-footer from six feet above the 148-yard third hole as "scary."
This is her third straight week in her home area, and afte missing the last two cuts, she admitted, "I've been hyper. I put too much pressure on myself. I've just got to go play my game and not be distracted."
NOTES: Pam Wright had a hole-in-one at the 168-yard eighth hole, hitting a four-iron shot. . . .Cathy Morse (shoulder injury) withdrew after 13 holes. She could not draw the 4 club back, and the pain was the worst it had been in several weeks. . . . Jan Stephenson withdrew after 16 holes, and later informed LPGA officials she had had a miscarriage 10 days ago, at which time she was nine weeks pregnant. The withdrawal was the result of further complications. Morse officially withdrew, but Stephenson did it without officially notifying tournament officials and will be 11 assessed a $100 fine. . . . Patty Sheehan tested her injured left hand (the injury is a sprained finger instead of bruised hand), and hit 16 greens while shooting 71. She eagled her third hole (No. 12, 445 yards, par 5) with a three-wood shot to 15 feet and a putt, and birdied the 13th, from five feet. She got back to even with a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 9. . . . Michelle Mackall, a former area standout as an amateur several years ago, put up a steady 72. "I hit 16 fairways and played conservatively," she said. "I'll do the same tomorrow [today] and try to give myself some opportunities. The key so far is not getting upset."
Cards of the leaders after the first round yesterday of the $1 million LPGA Championship:
Par out:.. .. .. 454.. .. 344.. .. 434-35
McHaffie out:... 444.. .. 344.. .. 534-35
Mucha out:.. ... 354.. .. 244.. .. 334-32
Walker out:.. .. 354.. .. 244.. .. 434-33
Richard out:.... 454.. .. 244.. .. 333-32
Par in:.. .. .. 435.. .. 544.. .. 344-3671
McHaffie in:... 324.. .. 544.. .. 243-3166
Mucha in:.. ... 344.. .. 644.. .. 334-3567
Walker in:.. .. 344.. .. 534.. .. 434-3467
Richard in:.... 435.. .. 543.. .. 344-3567