Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2000

Alfredsson slips down stretch

Golfer loses lead after three-putting last two holes at Giant Eagle LPGA Classic

July 30, 2000


— Helen Alfredsson had no one to blame but herself.

"I don't yell at people when it's my fault," she said after three-putting each of the last two holes to give away the lead in Saturday's second round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.

Those late mistakes allowed Michele Redman and Se Ri Pak to share the lead by a stroke over Alfredsson and Pat Hurst heading into the final round.

Alfredsson tossed her putter at her bag as she left the 18th green after her second consecutive bogey closed out a 2-under-par 70. She then went out and hit some balls on the practice range.

Alfredsson led by a shot going to the 17th hole, but her 45-foot birdie putt was left of the hole and she missed the 5-footer coming back. On the 18th green, she rolled a 30-foot birdie putt past the hole and then failed to hit a 4-foot par putt.

The Swede has three-putted the last hole for bogeys in each round.

"I just have to have some boo-boos," she said. "There's not a day without boo-boos."

Pak started the day tied for the lead with Alfredsson after each shot a 65 in the opening round. Pak had a 69 Saturday and was at 10-under 134 along with Redman.

Pak, chasing her ninth career victory, won the Giant Eagle two years ago when Dottie Pepper missed a short putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

Pak said she's more relaxed and confident now than she was during her two previous seasons on tour.

"Now I play much better than last two years," the Korean said. "This year I trust myself 100 percent. I feel more comfortable out there. Every shot, I can find the problem if I miss. I am more focused on my game. I have learned a lot about my game and myself."

An Ohio native followed around the course by her parents, Redman is seeking her second career victory and first in three years. But she has no plans to look at the leaderboard during the final round.

"I'll try not to. It really shouldn't matter," Redman said. "I'm not going to play more aggressively or not as aggressive because of one or two shots."

Playing in the same group, Pak and Alfredsson traded or shared the lead for most of the day before Alfredsson overtook Pak with a two-shot swing at No. 13.

Ahead by a stroke, Pak hooked her drive at the par-4 hole and her ball came to rest in the crease between two pieces of fresh sod a few feet left of the cart path and about 15 yards from the fairway.

An official ruled that Pak's ball was in ground under repair and she was permitted to take a free drop. She then hit a punch shot through the green and failed to get up and down to save par.

"I had a hard time over there," she said.

Moments earlier, Alfredsson yelled at herself in frustration as she bladed her 7-iron approach on the same hole. But her low liner took a big hop just in front of the green and rolled to within 6 feet of the cup. The birdie putt, coupled with Pak's bogey, put Alfredsson ahead by a shot.

That lead was erased on the last two holes.

"I've won enough tournaments in my career to know that some days you win by coming from behind and some days you win from in front," said Alfredsson, who has won four tournaments none in the last two years. "Some days you win by someone missing a putt."

Redman pulled into a share of the lead when she holed a 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole.

"I have to try not to put pressure on myself," Redman said. "I've been in contention a few times and put a lot of pressure on myself the final day. But now I feel I can relax and play."

Hurst's 69 left her tied with Alfredsson.

"When you think about it, a one-shot lead is not that much," said Hurst, who won earlier this year at the Electrolux. "On the first hole one player can birdie and the other can bogey."

Laura Philo had her second 68 in a row and was at 8 under, along with Scotland's Janice Moodie. Powered by an eagle on the par-5 third hole, Moodie had a 65.

Tammie Green, an Ohioan who won the Giant Eagle in 1994 and 1997, started the day tied for 90th after a first-round 74. She tied the course record with a 64 to rocket into a tie for seventh place at 6 under.

Play was suspended for 1 hour, 17 minutes after a thunderstorm pounded the course just before the leaders were to tee off.

Players were allowed to lift, clean and place balls because of wet conditions on the course, which has been completely redesigned and reconstructed in the past 10 months.

The final round will tee off three hours early, off both tees and in threesomes instead of twosomes, to try to avoid bad weather expected in the late afternoon.

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