Originally created 05/26/01

Scotland's McKay shoots 65 to take lead after two rounds



CORNING, N.Y. -- Mhairi McKay of Scotland shot a 7-under-par 65 on Friday and took a one-stroke lead over Sweden's Carin Koch after two rounds of the LPGA Corning Classic.

McKay, who was born and still lives in Glasgow, tied two tournament records on the front nine, getting six straight birdies and finishing with a 30. The string of birdies matched the mark set by Sherri Turner in the second round in 1988, while the 30 equaled Helen Dobson's record, set four years ago in the third round.

McKay used the best round of her career for a two-round total of 10-under 134 par. Koch had a 67, and only her failure to birdie any of the three short par-5s kept her from taking the lead.

Grace Park of Korea had a 66 and was tied at 135 with Australia's Fiona Pike, who had a 67. Laura Diaz was alone at 137 after a second-round 67.

First-round leader Johanna Head of England had a miserable day after an opening 65. She had four bogeys, three pars and two birdies on the back nine and finished with a 77.

Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, who lost to Betsy King in a three-way playoff last year, moved into contention with a 66 and was one of eight players at 139.

King wasn't so lucky, shooting par on Friday for a two-round total of 145, not good enough to make the cut. Kelli Kuehne, the 1999 champion, finished one stroke better and barely made the cut.

In all, 71 players were at or below par after two rounds. The cutoff of even-par 144 broke the tournament record of 145, set in 1998.

The threat of thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon turned into just that - a threat. With conditions near ideal for the second straight day, it was the players who did the threatening. Only a missed 8-foot putt on No. 8 prevented McKay from setting a record.

Pike had three birdies on the front nine and bogeyed No. 10 before rallying with birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 for her second straight 68, a career best for her after two rounds. It was a nice turnaround for the year - she had failed to make the cut in seven of 13 tournaments.

Park used her strong short game to string five straight birdies on the back nine, finishing the rush with a sand wedge to 6 inches on the par-5 14th, and another wedge to 4 feet on 15, a par-3.

Park had a chance to break the tournament record of 31 on the back nine, which Head tied in the first round. But her drive on 18 landed under a pine tree along the right side of the fairway and her approach to the green fell just short. Park got down in two to save par and equal the mark set first by Patty Sheehan in 1983.

For a few moments, it appeared to be Australian Jane Crafter's day. She began play one shot off the lead and had two birdies, two pars and an eagle on her first five holes to get to 10 under. Then she self-destructed with four bogeys and a double-bogey over the next six holes and finished with a 74 for a two-round score of 140.

Kellee Booth, who began the round one shot off the lead, had an experience similar to Crafter's. Booth got to 8 under with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 but came crashing down with double-bogeys on 9 and 11, a 158-yard par-3.

Booth finished with a 72 and was at 138, tied with Patricia Meunier-Lebouc of France, Leta Lindley, Jenna Daniels and 1987 Corning champ Cindy Flom.

There were 13 players at 4 under, including Dottie Pepper, third on the money list this year, and two-time Corning champion Rosie Jones.