133 raises Pak's profile and lead Total is 36-hole record for LPGA Championship dTC

May 16, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Se Ri Pak, who has been steady although not spectacular in her first year on the LPGA Tour, may be about to change that.

A star in her native Korea, and a co-medalist at last fall's qualifying school, Pak continued her assault on the DuPont Country Club course yesterday, opening a two-stroke lead halfway through the LPGA Championship.

Pak, 20, shot 3-under-par 68 yesterday, and her two-round total of 133 is the lowest 36-hole score in tournament history. She is two strokes in front of Lisa Walters, 66-69135.

The cut fell at 146, and 73 will play the last two rounds. Among the missing will be the two Maryland natives on tour, Kim Williams, 72147, and Tina Barrett, 75151. The start by the leader has produced her best first- and second-round scores. In only one of her previous nine starts was she able to put together two rounds in the 60s, but she marred that with a closing 74.

Here, she struck her irons close to the pin for much of the round for a second straight day, making four birdies on putts inside of five feet, and missing several other short ones.

She bogeyed the first hole (her 10th) when she missed the green, chipped badly and took two putts from seven feet.

"For two days I played my best because I was with two of the top professional golfers," Pak said of playing the first two days with Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez and JoAnne Carner.

"It's nice to be able to practice more and do it better over here. At home [Daejeon, about two hours south of Seoul], I'm known and people will follow me, talk with me, and I can't practice much. And here, away from the golf course, I'm more comfortable, because nobody knows me."

The same could be said for the leader board.

Of the top eight, the highest one on the current money list -- with one exception -- is Wendy Ward at No. 15. The one-time Bowie resident tacked a 4-under 67 onto an opening 71 for 138.

Late in the afternoon, Donna Andrews birdied the last two holes for 67 to tie Ward and Jane Geddes at 4-under 138. Andrews is No. 2 on the list for a season that shows seven top seven finishes, including a win, in 11 starts.

Ahead of the 138s in addition to Pak and Walters, are Lisa Hackney (66) at 136, and Dale Eggling (69) at 137. With Canadian Walters and Englishwoman Hackney, it means the top three are foreigners -- but no Swedes.

The high point of Walters' career was winning successive Hawaiian Opens in 1992 and 1993. Ahead of that was major knee surgery, and more recently lower back surgery.

"Right now, I feel pretty confident," she said. "I'm going to be nervous, but I think I'll play all right."

Pub Date: 5/16/98

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