Originally created 07/12/98

Golf notes: Morgan holding lead



DEARBORN, Mich. -- A crucial mistake on the 17th hole was all that separated Gil Morgan and Hale Irwin after the third round of the Senior Players Championship on Saturday.

Morgan played it safe and walked off with a one-stroke lead over Irwin, who bogeyed after hitting his approach on the next-to-last hole in the water. Morgan shot a 4-under-par 68 for a 201 total while Irwin had a third-round 67.

Bob Murphy, seeking his first victory of the season, charged from far back in the pack with a superb putting display to shoot a 64 and was at 203.

Isao Aoki and Jim Colbert each shot 66s and were five shots off the lead at 206. Jack Nicklaus, the sentimental favorite, had to settle for a 72 and was well off the pace at 209.

Murphy, who earlier in the week complained about side effects from his arthritis medicine, appeared to have fallen out of contention after a second-round 72 left him at 139, six strokes off the lead. But he quickly began making up ground under almost perfect conditions.

Nicklaus, whose streak of 154 majors will end when he skips the British Open next week, was tied with Albus at seven under when the round started at the TPC of Michigan, a course he designed. But he opened with a bogey and struggled through the first nine holes, turning in 35.

Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors plus two U.S. Amateur titles, looked a little like the Golden Bear of old at the start of the back side, reeling off birdies on three of the first four holes to reach 11 under.

But it all fell apart when Nicklaus, who is considering surgery for his ailing left hip, triple-bogeyed No. 14, the signature hole which is bordered by wetlands from tee to green, and also bogeyed 16.

LPGA: Se Ri Pak picked up where she left off after an LPGA-record 61 in the second round, birdieing seven of the final nine holes on the way to an 8-under 63 and a nine-shot lead through Saturday's third round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.

"Everything feels great now," said the 20-year-old Korean rookie, who won the U.S. Women's Open on Monday in a 20-hole playoff with amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn.

On the heels of her 10-under 61, the lowest score ever posted in an LPGA event, Pak completed the lowest consecutive rounds ever on the tour. The 63 was the second-lowest score ever shot at 6,319-yard Highland Meadows Golf Club, behind only her 61 of Friday.

After shooting an even-par 71 in the opening round, she now stands at 18-under 195. Karrie Webb shot a 67, the next-best round of the day, and was alone in second at 9-under.

"She's different," Webb said of Pak. "To win two majors your rookie year is really something. That is very difficult, considering the two courses she won on, especially last week on a course where you have to be patient. Obviously, she's got a lot of patience."

Only two players have ever won their next tournament after capturing the Open, Louise Suggs in 1952 and Jane Geddes in 1986.

Pak has several records in sight. The 72-hole LPGA record is 23-under par, set by Wendy Ward in 1997 and matched earlier this year by Lisa Walters in the Oldsmobile Classic. The largest margin is 14 shots, set by Suggs in 1949 and matched by Cindy Mackey in 1986.

QUAD CITIES: David Toms' third straight 65 gave him a lead in the Quad City Classic in Coal Valley, Ill., that he doesn't expect to own when he tees off in the final round.

"I expect someone will already set a new lead," said Toms, who won his sole PGA title here last year. "If I go out tomorrow and shoot 1- or 2-under, I'm not going to win."

Toms emerged from a crowd atop the leaderboard to take a one-stroke lead with a round in which he made five birdies and few mistakes. Even his mistakes didn't always cost him strokes. He converted a bad drive on No. 10 into a birdie, thanks to a good approach and a 6-foot putt.

Scott Gump's 64 featured a 29 on the back side, getting him to one stroke off the lead at 196.

Coming in at 13-under 197 were second-day leaders Frank Lickliter and Steve Jones, who shot 68s, Kenny Perry, who shot a 67, and D.A. Weibring, three-time Quad City champion, who shot a 65.

LOCH LOMOND: Lee Westwood won the Loch Lomond golf tournament in Glasgow, Scotland, by four strokes Saturday to reclaim the No. 1 spot in European golf and set himself up for a $1 million bonus of he wins at next week's British Open.

Westwood finished with the 8-under total 276 after a 1-under closing round of 70, four strokes ahead of five players who shared second place.

The 25-year-old Englishman was the only player to break par in all four rounds of the $1.41 million tournament.

The $235,155) winner's check was enough for him to replace Colin Montgomerie on top of the European tour money list. The tournament's sponsor put up the bonus as an incentive for any player who could win the Loch Lomond and the British Open at Royal Birkdale next week.

GA. STATE AMATEUR: The top of the leaderboard at the Georgia State Golf Association Amateur Championship in Sea Island is full of Augustans.

Jeff Knox is tied for the lead after three rounds with Georgia Tech golfer Carlton Forrester of Gainesville. Vaughn Taylor is one shot off the lead and fellow Augustans John Engler and Scott Volpitto are two shots back.

Knox, one shot back after two rounds, survived a 3-over-par 75 on Saturday at the Ocean Forest course to move into the lead. Harold Wyatt of Atlanta, the leader of the first- and second rounds with scores of 70-71, had a 79 on Saturday and is three shots back.

Taylor, the former Augusta State golfer, had a 75 on Saturday and is tied with Bill Roberts of Pine Mountain for third place at 218. Engler had a 70 and Volpitto a 74. They're at 219.

Knox shot a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine Saturday, but came home in 4-over-par 40 with a double bogey on NO. 11 and bogeys on Nos. 13 and 17.