BETHESDA -- Liselotte Neumann is in position to make another solid showing in a major championship on the LPGA Tour. There is also the possibility of going 2-for-2 in Mazda-sponsored tournaments.
The Swedish star has just three players ahead of her among the second-round finishers in the Mazda LPGA Championship at Bethesda Country Club yesterday.
Only Betsy King and JoAnne Carner, 1-2 on the leader board after 66s, had better rounds than Neumann's 34-34--68. Only King at 8-under 134; Carner at 5-under 137; and Amy Alcott, 4-under 138, had lower numbers than Neumann's 139.
Her finest major was the 1988 U.S. Women's Open at Baltimore '' Country Club, where she scored a three-stroke victory over Patty Sheehan to highlight a rookie season.
A final-round 69 boosted her into a tie for 11th in last year's Mazda LPGA Championship, and in this year's first major, the Nabisco Dinah Shore, she tied for 26th.
Her most important showing of this season, however, came in the tour's richest event, the $1.2 million Centel Classic, where she tied for second, one stroke behind Danielle Ammaccapane.
There, Neumann, who has not won in this country since her Open triumph, although she did capture last year's season-ending Mazda Japan Classic, took the lead with a third-round 67. On the last day, a 1-under-par 71 just failed to hold off Ammaccapane.
"I struggled yesterday [Thursday] because I had some tough shots out of the rough.
"It was a lot better this time. I was striking the ball better and even though I missed a couple of short putts on the back nine, I'm quite happy.
"The Centel tournament was a positive experience. It gave me a lot of confidence, and I think I can build on that here."
Neumann, who turns 26 on Wednesday, has missed only two cuts in 10 starts, and her $113,213 puts her 13th on the money list.
* A late-afternoon thunderstorm caused a suspension of play for 35 minutes before being called for the day. Play is scheduled to be resumed at 7:30 a.m. today, with 45 players still on the course.
Among those out are Baltimorean Tina Barrett and Helen Alfredsson, the newest Swedish sensation, who were in a threesome with the 18th hole left. Both are assured of making the cut, as Alfredsson needed par for a second straight 69, and Barrett needed par for a second straight 73.
A cut to the low 70 and ties will be made at the conclusion of the round, and players repaired for the third round.
With a national television broadcast scheduled for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., tee times will be 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with the leaders going first to assure TV coverage.
MISCELLANEOUS: Among the four first-round co-leaders, only King could improve (68-66). Alice Ritzman had 71, Brandie Burton 73 and Donna Andrews 75. . . . Jane Geddes was in position to be among the chief challengers when she went to 18th hole 4-under for the tournament. She launched her second shot, however, into the grandstand bordering the green, and the ball bounced out of bounds, leading to a triple-bogey 7. . . . Paula Wagasky, a former Odenton resident, was forced to withdraw after her opening-round 88. A tournament rule requires players at 88 and higher to withdraw. Wagasky, 38, a teaching pro in Buffalo Grove, Ill., said later she would have liked to have had one less shot, and a chance to redeem herself. . . . Former Woodholme CC assistant pro Jimmy Hyams, now a teaching pro at an area driving range, caddied for Debby Pinnell, like Wagasky, one of six sectional champion teaching pros. The Florida golfer finished 77-80.