Saturday, July 3, 2004

Sorenstam 2 behind Rosales

By Doug Ferguson
The Associated Press

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Annika Sorenstam hit the ball so pure that she missed only one green and one fairway, the kind of golf that usually wins the U.S. Women's Open. It just wasn't good enough to be in the lead Friday.

In a second round that was full of adventures at Orchards Golf Club, Jennifer Rosales shot out of the gate with three straight birdies and closed with a 12-foot birdie that gave her a 4-under 67 and a one-shot lead over fellow Southern California alum Candie Kung and Kim Saiki. Kung chipped in twice for birdie in her round of 68.

Saiki, 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.

No one had a wilder time than Michelle Wie, 14, who hit a spectator with her tee shot on No. 10 and had to play out of poison ivy after driving deep into the woods on No. 14. She compensated with enough dynamic shots for a 1-under 70. That left Wie only four shots back going into the weekend and tied with Paula Creamer, 17, who birdied the final hole for a 69.

The other teen had a tougher time. Brittany Lincicome, 18, who tied a Women's Open record with a 66 in the first round, was shaky with her irons and her putting. She bogeyed three straight holes to reach the turn and wound up 11 shots worse at 77.

Rosales, who won an NCAA title at USC, was at 5-under 137 and has a lead for only the second time in a major. The other occasion was the LPGA Championship last month, when she led after the first round but couldn't keep up with Sorenstam the rest of the way.

Sorenstam and Carin Koch (67) were at 139, while Rachel Teske (69) and Moira Dunn (67) were another shot back.

The dream teens - Wie and Creamer - were joined at 1-under 141 by Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst.

"Thirty-six holes is a lot of golf at a U.S. Open," two-time champion Juli Inkster said after her second straight round of even-par 71. "I like my position."

The one constant came from the best player in the game.

Sorenstam, who won the LPGA Championship three weeks ago in a 36-hole final round, started to hit her stride with what she called one of her better ball-striking rounds.

"I think I'm in good position," she said. "I'm happy at this point."

Sorenstam was among 75 players who had to return Friday morning to finish her round, and she made double bogey on the first of 21 holes she played. She was solid the rest of the way, making two birdies on the opening three holes, including a delicate bump-and-run up a steep slope to 3 feet for birdie on the par-5 third.

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