Pros restore Women's Open order

Rosales' 67 puts her up by a shot

teenagers Wie, Creamer 4 strokes back


July 03, 2004|By Bob Herzog | Bob Herzog,NEWSDAY

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - As they like to say on the golf course, different strokes for different folks.

Asked whether she looked at the leader board yesterday, where her name was on top for nearly the entire second day of the U.S. Women's Open after a sizzling 4-under-par 67, Jennifer Rosales answered in the negative.

"It doesn't matter until the last day," said Rosales, 25, a University of Southern California alumna from the Philippines.

But when the LPGA Tour's No. 1-ranked player, Annika Sorenstam, 33, was asked the same question after her 3-under 68, she answered in the affirmative.

"I do look at the scoreboard. I always have," said the native of Sweden who lives now in Nevada. "It doesn't really matter what day it is. Today, I don't alter my game after looking at the leader board. I might do that on Sunday on the back nine. Today, it's more fun to see what's going on with the tournament."

A lot was going on yesterday at sunny but breezy Orchards Golf Club.

Rosales made six birdies, four on the tough back nine, for a two-round total of 5-under 137. That was one shot better than fellow USC alumnae Candie Kung (70-68) and Kim Saiki (70-68) and two shots better than Michelle Ellis (70-69) and Sorenstam (71-68).

Saiki was trying to become the first player in 24 years to win an LPGA Tour event the week before winning a U.S. Open, finished bogey-birdie-bogey for a 68.

First-round leader Brittany Lincicome, the Florida teenage amateur who shot 66 Thursday, struggled with a 77 and sits at 1-over for the championship.

Michelle Wie, 14, the most recognizable amateur in the field, kept her composure despite several erratic drives to shoot a 1-under 70 for a two-day total of 141, four shots off the pace.

She wasn't the best teenager yesterday, though. That was Paula Creamer, 17, who finished with a birdie for a 69 to tie Wie at 1-under 141 for the tournament with pros Kelly Robbins (67) and Pat Hurst.

Still, the 141 was only one shot higher than Wie's target of 140 at the halfway point.

She arrived at that modest goal after watching the recent men's Open on Long Island.

"I just looked at what happened at Shinnecock Hills," the 14-year-old said with a laugh, "and saw everyone kind of do that, so I'm thinking par is a good score out here. If I shoot 4-under [for the championship], I'm a happy person."

Rosales was the happiest person in Western Massachusetts after her sharp shooting.

"I love playing on a tough course. I love playing in an Open," said Rosales, who gained her first victory this year. "I love a challenge."

It appears she'll get one from Sorenstam, who challenged Wie for the largest galleries in the crowd estimated at 23,000.

"I'm happy with the way I'm hitting it. I think I'm in a good position," said Sorenstam, who won this event in 1995 and 1996, has 52 career victories and is No. 1 on the LPGA money list for 2004 with more than $1 million.

Sorenstam had to play three holes in the morning to complete her rain-shortened first round and began with a double-bogey on the difficult par-4 16th.

"It wasn't the start I had in mind, but it woke me up," said Sorenstam, who started at 7.

Saiki sounded the alarm that she would contend for a second straight week - the 38-year-old won her first LPGA event last week in Rochester, N.Y. - with an eagle on the par-5 13th.

"I hit a great drive to the left side of the fairway and then hit a rescue club to about 20 feet," Saiki said.

She made that putt to highlight a round that puts her into the thick of things for the weekend, a place she has rarely been in her career.

"It was exciting and extremely overwhelming for me," she said of her first victory. "When I came here, I was extremely exhausted, because I'm not used to a lot of attention. I've surprisingly been able to handle myself with all this attention." (Scores, 7c)

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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