McDowell earns 1-stroke lead

Fulfilling terminally ill mother's wish, Dowd debuts with 2-over 74 at LPGA's Ginn Open

Roundup

April 28, 2006

Graeme McDowell already was thrilled with how he played yesterday in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. One last shot made him feel even better.

McDowell finished off a flawless round in easy conditions at English Turn by one-hopping a wedge from 116 yards into the cup for eagle on the ninth hole, giving him an 8-under-par 64 for a one-shot lead over Stuart Appleby in the first nationally televised sporting event in the city since Hurricane Katrina.

"That's a real bonus," McDowell said. "It doesn't matter how good you hit. To get the ball in the cup takes a bit of luck."

It took just that to keep Appleby from leading a PGA Tour event for the fifth consecutive round. Coming off a wire-to-wire victory last week in the Houston Open, he again made it look easy by never coming seriously close to bogey and hitting a wedge into 4 feet for birdie on the 18th hole for a 65.

And it took an eagle from McDowell to get a small measure of separation from a jam-packed leader board, brought on by soft, slow conditions on a course that played so easy that McDowell found himself reaching for a wedge on nearly every hole.

Among par-72 courses used by the PGA Tour, the 7,116-yard English Turn is the third-shortest behind only the cleverly designed TPC at Sawgrass for The Players Championship and the course used for the B.C. Open.

Ten players were in the group at 66, including two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who made a late bogey with his best swing of the day, a 5-iron that cut through the breeze and went over the 17th green.

The average score was about 70.5, and only 40 players in the 156-man field failed to shoot par or better.

David Toms, a Louisiana native and a star in this area for his relief work involving Katrina victims, opened with a 69.

LPGA Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open -- Dakoda Dowd, the 13-year-old playing the event to fulfill her mother's dying wish, shot a 2-over 74 while being tailed by television cameras, photographers, reporters and well-wishers in Reunion, Fla. Dowd birdied her first hole, the par-5 10th, after hitting her tee shot down the left-center part of the fairway and then knocking her third shot to 2 feet. She finished nine shots behind leader Cristie Kerr. Dowd, gave her terminally ill mother, Kelly Jo, a hug and said simply, "Mom, don't cry." Dakoda, a golf phenom from Palm Harbor, Fla., competed in her first women's professional event after organizers extended the invitation to play when they learned that Kelly Jo Dowd's breast cancer had spread to her liver and bones and she might never get to see her daughter play professionally. "Fantabulous," Kelly Jo Dowd said after the round. "I have to make up my own vocabulary to describe it."

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