For Scranton, No. 12 is unlucky number

Double bogey on 12th takes her out of lead, starts downward spiral

LPGA Championship notebook Golf

June 26, 2000|By Sam Borden | Sam Borden,SUN STAFF

WILMINGTON, Del. - Entering the 10th tee at DuPont Country Club yesterday, Nancy Scranton was cruising. Starting the final round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship two shots behind co-leaders Juli Inkster and Wendy Ward, Scranton had two birdies on the first nine to put her in a tie for the lead with Inkster.

But then the wheels fell off in a hurry.

Par putts on the 10th and 11th kept her tied for the lead, but on the par-4 12th, Scranton's drive was well left, forcing her to punch back to the fairway. From there, her approach came up short of the green, and she needed a chip and two more putts before finding the cup. That double bogey dropped her out of the lead and started a downward spiral where she bogeyed the next two holes as well. As horrendous as it was, her back-nine 40 was only one shot too many, since Inkster and Stefania Croce went into a playoff at 3 under.

"I felt great [making the turn]," said Scranton, who closed with a 5-over 76. "I don't know what happened on that 3-wood [on No. 12]. I think I got a little flustered there because I was going along so smoothly before that."

Her undoing may have been due to the difficult conditions that swept through DuPont yesterday. For the first time all week, the wind was a factor, and the greens were completely dry by the time Scranton came through the last nine holes.

"That wind was very tough to gauge," Scranton said. "Especially with the tall trees, it's pretty hard to tell sometimes. I mean, you know it's a left to right, but you can't tell if it's left to right helping or hurting."

No great expectations

After a five-week layoff while she recovered from surgery, Nancy Lopez didn't have wild expectations coming into this week's event. The Hall of Famer had her gallbladder removed in the middle of May and is working to get her game back in shape. This tournament was a just a part of the process - one that Lopez hopes will culminate in a solid showing in next month's U.S. Women's Open.

"I get disappointed when I'm not able to hit it where I want it to go," Lopez said after her closing-round 76 left her tied for 65th place. "But I'm targeting the Open. I need to practice and work hard. It's just a matter of being consistent."

Webb only half right

Many expected Karrie Webb to make a move on the leader board yesterday, and the top-ranked player didn't disappoint.

Unfortunately for Webb, she did it on the front nine, then fell apart over the closing nine holes. Webb was 2 under through her first eight holes, but then bogeyed the ninth, a par 5 that she had birdied the past two days and played as the fourth-easiest hole all week. Her 2-over 73 left her tied for ninth.

Et cetera

Jan Stephenson, who started the final day in third place at 5 under, shot a 5-over 76 to drop into a tie for ninth. ... Inkster, who turned 40 Saturday, is not the oldest winner of the LPGA Championship. That honor belongs to current tournament director Betsy Rawls, who won the 1969 tournament when she was 41.

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