Archive for Sunday, May 2, 2004

Teen on verge of LPGA history

Song in position at Chick-fil-A to become tour’s youngest winner

May 2, 2004


— Aree Song bent over to light the candles on a chocolate birthday cake sent by her agent. Before blowing them out, she paused and smiled.

"Anybody know what I'm going to wish for?" Song asked.

It's pretty obvious.

Song celebrated her 18th birthday by staying in the lead Saturday at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship. If she can hold on for another round -- no guarantee against a daunting leaderboard that includes Annika Sorenstam -- the teenager would become the youngest winner in LPGA history.

The $240,000 first prize would certainly stand out among the CDs, gift certificates and other birthday gifts she already has received.

Song shot a 2-under-par 70 in the third round and hopes to surpass Marlene Hagge as the youngest winner ever. The Hall of Famer was 18 years, 14 days old when she won the Sarasota Open in 1952. History won't come easy.

Sorenstam, the world's No. 1 player, is just two strokes behind. So are Grace Park, who won the first major of the year, and defending champion Se Ri Pak.

While logging her second straight round without a bogey at Eagle's Landing Country Club in suburban Atlanta, Song wore a shirt that had "I'm 18 and Excited" emblazoned across the front. For those who still didn't get the message, her hat carried the logo "Birthday Girl."

Weather could be an issue, as it usually is at a tournament that has been nicknamed the "Chick Delay." Forecasters said up to an inch of rain could fall today. If the final round is washed out, Song would win by default.

"My caddy mentioned that after the 17th hole," Park said. "He told me it looks like the weather is really bad, so let's make sure we finish strong and be on top of the leaderboard."

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