GRAND BLANC, MICH. LPGA THE PHAR-MOR — Norman's game is on upswing in Buick Open
Shoots a 65 to lead Hoch by one stroke
GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- The pendulum is swinging for Greg Norman. That could mean the clock is ticking for the rest of the golfers at the Buick Open.
Norman shot a 65 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead over Scott Hoch. His round of 7-under left Norman at 132. Hoch, the first-round leader, followed his tournament record-tying 63 with a 70 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.
"It's impossible to play good golf all the time," Norman said. "It's like a pendulum, up and down. I can feel my pendulum getting started on an upward path again. It's a nice feeling."
PGA champion Wayne Grady, defending Buick Open champion Chip Beck and Brad Faxon were third at 134.
Payne Stewart, the U.S. Open champion, shot 74-69 and missed the cut. Other notables missing the cut at 3-under 141 included Davis Love III, Wayne Levi, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Kite and Raymond Floyd.
Norman started the round four shots behind the leader and promptly made a wedge shot at the first hole for an eagle-3 to go 7-under overall. Birdies at the fourth, fifth, and sixth holes got him to 10-under but that streak ended with a bogey at No. 8, a 181-yard par-3.
On the back side, Norman, winner of the 1989 and 1990 Vardon Trophy for low scoring, birdied the 12th, 13th and 14th holes to go 12-under.
"There was no breeze at all out there," Norman said. "We were just scoping in on the flags and pulling the trigger. There were no worries. I guess they like low-scoring around here."
Norman, one of golf's most charismatic players, was the Tour's leading money-winner in 1990 with $1.2 million. But he's 45th this year with $243,081. He'll pocket $180,000 if he wins this tournament.
In 11 tournaments, Norman has been in the money nine times. His best finish was runner-up in the Centel Western Open on July 7.
But when he arrived at Warwick Hills, where he never had played before, Norman said he was mainly trying to prepare for the PGA Championship next week at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind.
The PGA is the fourth and final major championship of the year.
Norman failed to make the cut at the Masters, withdrew from the U.S. Open because of a bad back and finished tied for ninth at the British Open.
"Golf is really a technique game," he said. "When you're playing well, you don't even have to think. You just pull a club out of the bag and swing it."
VIENNA, Ohio -- Danielle Ammaccapane shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over college teammate Pam Wright and Peggy Kirsch.
Ammaccapane, who won the Standard Register Ping tournament in March, had seven birdies and a bogey to match her lowest competitive round of the year. She knew the reason.
"Probably because there are so many Italians out here," she said with a laugh. "That's all I hear on the course: 'Go, paisan!' "
Wright, her teammate at Arizona State, birdied five of her last seven holes for a 67 at the Squaw Creek Country Club.
Kirsch, a non-winner in her second full year on the tour, shot a 7-under 28 to break the course record for the front nine, but foundered on the back nine to finish at 67.
Defending champion Beth Daniel, bidding for a $1 million bonus, took double-bogey on the 17th hole and finished with a 73. She won the Phar-Mor in Inverrary (Fla.) last February and would enjoy the richest payday in women's golf if she won its sister tournament.
Senior Northville Long Island
JERICHO, N.Y. -- Jim Colbert, fighting back spasms in his rookie year on the Senior Tour, shot a 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead with Larry Laoretti and Homero Blancas.
Colbert, 50, had five birdies, two from 15 feet, during his bogey-free round at the Meadow Brook Club. He saved par on the par-5, 506-yard 10th hole by three-putting from 100 feet.
"Last week, I was up to 14 painkillers a day, but now I'm down to five or six," Colbert said. "The pills give me movement, but I have to be careful because too many make me lose the fine, delicate touch in my hands.
"I also have another problem out on the course . . . keeping myself awake so I don't fall asleep and do something stupid. Today nothing like that happened. I had a comfortable day."