Prevailing feeling is mental fatigue

Course management leaves players tired of thinking too much

LPGA notebook

June 24, 2000|By Sam Borden | Sam Borden,SUN STAFF

WILMINGTON, Del. - The temperatures at DuPont Country Club yesterday were warm, yet not unbearable, and a soft breeze blew under the sun throughout the day. No doubt, it was a day to play golf.

But while the weather made it physically easy for the field at the McDonald's LPGA Championship, the prevailing feeling coming off the 18th hole was fatigue - mental fatigue, that is. Quite simply, most of the players were just tired of thinking.

"I'm just very worn out right now," said Annika Sorenstam, who followed up a first-round 70 with a 2-over 73 yesterday. "You plan out every shot. It's all course management out there. It's quite a challenge, but that's OK. That's how a major should be."

The 6,408-yard track has not played a passive role this year. Though defending champion Juli Inkster torched the grounds for a 16-under-par 268 last June, that number is out of the question this year. The greens are speeding up, making it incumbent upon the players to leave their iron shots on the right side of the hole. And, with rough that seems to subsist on a steady diet of Titleists, missing a fairway almost always results in a difficult struggle to make par."[The rough] is even worse around the greens then off the fairways," a haggard-looking Betsy King said after limping in with a 78. The Hall of Famer battled the course, but also a splitting headache that woke her at 4 a.m. and left her feeling sluggish. "And the greens are the fastest I've ever seen them. It's like U.S. Open fast out here."

Just having fun

On Thursday, first-round leader Jane Geddes made a point of saying she is playing this week to have fun. The 17-year veteran stuck to that line yesterday, even after shooting a second-round 74. Geddes, who doubles as an Internet entrepreneur, hasn't spent much time on the golf course lately as she develops her web site Her 5-under 66 Thursday left her wondering how she'd handle the pressures of being in contention at a major - a feeling she hasn't had for quite some time.

"Obviously, 3-over wasn't the number I had in mind, but I'm happy to be where I am," said Geddes, who won the 1986 U.S. Women's Open and 1987 LPGA Championship. "Basically, I hit it better [yesterday then Thursday], if you can believe that. But I was on the wrong side of the hole all day, and that makes a difference."

Et cetera

Seventy-three players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 5 over 147. Nancy Lopez made it right on the number after a second-round 73. ... Baltimore native Tina Barrett shot a second-round 80 and missed the cut. ... Karrie Webb improved on her opening-round 72 with a 70 yesterday, leaving her tied for 12th at even par. ... A rib injury forced Susie Redman to withdraw after nine holes of her second round. Helen Dobson also withdrew with a rib injury.

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