Originally created 02/20/00

King wins Hawaiian Ladies Open

KAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Betsy King can stop wondering.

King won for the first time since 1997, getting off to a fast start Saturday en route to a two-stroke victory in the Hawaiian Ladies Open.

It was the 32nd career win for the 44-year-old LPGA Hall of Famer, whose last victory came in the Dinah Shore three years ago.

King, who began the final round tied for the lead with Sally Dee, finished at 12-under 204 after shooting a 2-under 70 at Kapolei Golf Course.

"There were times last year when I thought I might not win again," King said. "There were times this year when I thought I might not win again, like after the first week. So I'm just thankful I'm there."

Brandie Burton was second and Joanne Morley was three shots behind in third.

King birdied three of the first four holes, then survived two bogeys on the back nine. The victory was worth $97,500 and boosted her career tour earnings to more than $6.4 million.

She made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 1, and fell 2 feet short of an eagle on No. 3, settling for birdie.

King moved to 14-under with a short birdie putt on the fourth hole and played par for the rest of the front nine. Dee dropped six shots back with a double bogey on No. 6, and Sophie Gustafson bogeyed Nos. 2, 9, 11 and 12 to fall out of contention.

"In my head starting out, I said get to 15-under-par, have that in your head as a score so you don't play too conservatively," King said. "The front side I played very well. I was within 15 feet six times and I made three of them and two-putted for birdie another time.

"The back side, it was just the tee shots. Any bogey I made today was just because of the tee shot."

King bogeyed No. 11 to drop to 13-under while Morley, who started the round at 6-under, moved to 12-under through 14 holes on the strength of six birdies.

But Morley fell apart after that, making bogey on 15 and double-bogey on the par-3 16th.

"Sixteen was probably the worst iron I hit all week," Morley said. "I just hit right into the bunker, not a very good lie, and the rest is history. It was nice to be in that position and you learn from it for the next time."

Burton started the day 6-under, and finished with birdies on the final four holes, but fell short in her attempt to get even with King.

For Burton, who had two surgeries on her right shoulder in the last 14 months, it was her best showing since winning the du Maurier Classic in 1998.

Burton said she didn't even realize she had moved into contention.

"When I made the turn, I was at 5-under and Betsy was at 14, so I didn't think I had a prayer," Burton said. "It was good to be up there again. To be off 14 months and to come down the stretch and birdie four of the last five holes, that was pretty exciting."

Dee shot 76 and Gustafson 75, both finishing at 6-under 210.

Diana D'Alessio, playing in her second LPGA event, finished at 8-under 208 along with Becky Iverson. Defending champ Alison Nicholas ended at 5-under 211.


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