Putting helps Wright forge three-stroke lead in rain-soaked Women's Open

July 25, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

OAKMONT, Pa. -- Pam Wright says she looks at golf tournaments as just going out and playing. Not thinking about anything specific, just playing.

That's what she did yesterday in posting a 2-under-par 69 for a 36-hole total of 139, and a three-stroke lead in the weather-hampered 47th annual U.S. Women's Open championship at soggy Oakmont Country Club.

There were several rain showers during the day, but play managed to proceed until suspended by lightning at 6:57 p.m. Forty-two players who were on the course will return at 7:30 this morning to complete the second round. Third-round play from the first and 10th tees is expected to begin about 11:15 a.m.

At that point, Wright led Canadian Dawn Coe (a pair of par 71s) and Donna Andrews (69-73) at 142. Jane Geddes, the 1986 champion, Alice Ritzman and Gail Graham followed at 143.

Still on the course were Juli Inkster, 1 under through No. 16, and Patty Sheehan, 1 under through 14. Also still out was Baltimorean Tina Barrett, 5 over through No. 14.

"Putting was my saving grace," said Wright, 28, whose round included four birdies and two bogeys. She made 26 putts, including ones from 10 feet and 20 feet, in addition to two 6-footers. There were also two sand saves, giving her three for the two rounds.

The native of Aboyne, Scotland, has been steeped in golf all her life. Her father is a golf professional and her mother played on four Curtis Cup teams.

She attended Arizona State for three years before turning pro and earning LPGA Rookie of the Year honors in 1989. This year, she has made the cut in 16 of 20 starts with two top 10s. Her best finish was a tie for second at Atlantic City last year.

"I've never led a major before, but this is only Friday and you can't get caught up in it," the slender 5-foot-4 Wright added.

With a projected cut of nine or 10 over par (151 or 152), Sarah

Ingram and Kim Williams were likely misses.

Williams parred in from 14 to complete her first round at 76, then turned right around and shot 78, hitting seven fairways and seven greens.

Former Baltimorean Ingram had 10 holes to complete a first-round 76, then wheeled around and put up 77. Her driver deserted her for most of the 26 holes, but she was still a possibility until making a double-bogey 6 at the last hole.

She drove into a fairway bunker, blasted out, put her third shot pin-high in the left rough, then chunked her chip, the ball just reaching the fringe. From there, she slid her 18-foot putt by on the low side and made the comebacker.

"I was thinking 76-76, but I did not drive the ball well," said Ingram, obviously mad at herself for the windup of her fourth Open appearance. Last year she shot 298 and tied for 41st, third low amateur.

NOTES: The five-way tie for first place (69) set a first-round Open record. . . . The first-round stroke average was 76.763. . . . Besides Wright, Nancy Ramsbottom and Muffin Spencer-Devlin were the only other players to get to 3 under. Ramsbottom slipped back to 75144 and Spencer-Devlin 80149. . . . Another first-round leader to have trouble was Tracy Kerdyk, 77146.

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