Veteran touch helps Hurst hold onto lead

Juggling motherhood, tour, she keeps focus

3 executives resign

Lpga Championship

Notebook

June 10, 2006|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG AND DAVID SELIG | KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG AND DAVID SELIG,SUN REPORTERS

With all the talk of the young guns on the LPGA tour this year, it's easy to forget about some of the veterans who still have plenty of game. But 37-year-old Pat Hurst, a mother of two who won a major championship when Michelle Wie was just 8 years old, has been doing her best to change that this week at Bulle Rock.

Hurst shot a first-round 66 Thursday, which at the time was a course record, then followed it up by birdieing her first two holes yesterday before a weather delay pulled the players off the course. Though she only completed nine holes in her second round, Hurst maintained her first-place score of 8-under par.

After her first round, Hurst talked about the difficulties of juggling motherhood and a professional golf career.

"The first of the year is always tough for me with my kids," said Hurst, who has a 6-year-old son, Jackson, and a 4-year-old daughter, Reilly. "But once I get going, and make it out East, it's easier for me to focus more on golf instead of my kids and that's why I start picking it up later in the year."

Hurst said she draws inspiration from Juli Inkster, who won four of her seven major championships after her children were born.

"If you look at moms who have played well, they just kind of let things go and just kind of roll with the punches," Hurst said. "Right after having kids, I think it's really hard because your body changes. Over time, it will go back to normal, but I think that's a good change."

LPGA resignations

Three top executives resigned from the LPGA Tour this week for undisclosed reasons, the Associated Press reported, raising the total to seven high-ranking employees that have left since Carolyn Bivens took over as commissioner last September.

Senior vice president of golf Deb Richard, vice president of partnerships Julie Tyson and chief strategic officer Liz Ausman were the most recent whose resignations were accepted by the LPGA.

Richard told the AP she left because "I've lost faith in the leadership."

Bivens has said turnover should be expected after a change in leadership, but she hired Ausman and Richard. It was also strange that the three announced their resignations on the week of a major tournament.

"It's a sad thing for me to go through. I've devoted more than half my life to the LPGA," said Richard, who played almost 20 years. "I feel uniquely connected on all levels, and I truly believe there's no greater sports property."

In a statement, Bivens wished the three executives "success in their future endeavors," and Rae Evans, chair of the LPGA board, added that she was not alarmed about the resignations.

"Business is business. People come, people go," Bivens told the AP. "I haven't seen anybody at headquarters with Kleenex boxes."

kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com david.selig@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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