Originally created 08/16/98

Rookie makes her move in women's British Open



LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- In her first year on the LPGA tour, Janice Moodie played the closing hole Saturday as if she has been making these shots her whole life.

The 25-year-old Scot, who graduated from San Jose State, splashed out of a bunker on No. 18 to save par and took a one-stroke lead over Betsy King after three rounds at the Women's British Open.

"There was a time when I would have thought, `This is an automatic bogey,"' Moodie said. "Now I try not to think about that. I know that, even if a miss a green, there's still a good chance I'll get up and down."

With no player in the field able to reach par, Moodie finished with a 15-foot putt for a 3-over 219 total. She and King both closed with par 72s.

Brandie Burton, the second-round leader, made a triple-bogey eight to lose the lead and wound up with a 77 for a 222. Se Ri Pak's bid for a third major crumbled when she bogeyed the first five holes in her round of 79.

Folllowing Moodie and King at 5-over are two Americans, Wendy Ward (74) and Leslie Spalding (75), and Smitri Mehra of India (71).

Moodie, who won 12 tournaments in college, is chasing her first pro title. King, the biggest money winner in LPGA history, has won 31. The two will be paired for the final round Sunday at Royal Lytham St. Annes.

"I'm looking forward to going out with Betsy King tomorrow because we also played the first two rounds together," Moodie said. "It's kind of exciting and the nerves are going in my stomach."

Moodie birdied the sixth and 14th holes but bogeyed Nos. 10 and 17. She was in trouble again on No. 18 when she landed in the greenside bunker but managed to escape.

This will be the first time she will go out last in the final round of a pro tournament. King has lost count of the number of times she's gone out last. Yet she's looking for her first win this season.

"I'm playing well in spots," said King, who birdied the first, sixth, 10th and 11th holes but also collected four bogeys.

It would have been five but she too produced an excellent bunker shot on the last hole. The ball landed a foot from the flag and she left with a par.

"I'm pleased," she said. "You can't get to go round this course without a mistake here, a mistake there."

Having seen Moodie for the first two rounds, she thinks the Scot has plenty of potential.

"I don't think she really has any weaknesses," King said. "She has good touch, a good temperament and she's competitive. She'll also have a few people rooting for her tomorrow."

Burton, winner of the du Maurier Classic two weeks ago and starting the third round ahead by one stroke, maintained her lead until the par-5, 535-yard seventh hole.

She drove into the deep rough, chipped out onto the fairway and her third landed in a bunker short of the green. Burton needed two shots to get onto the fairway. Then she chipped to the green and two-putted.

Pak, the 20-year-old rookie from South Korea who has won four tournaments, began the third round seven shots behind the leader and is now at 15-over 231.