Originally created 05/11/02

Burton leads Sorenstam in rain-plagued second round



FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Brandie Burton, working her way back from her third shoulder surgery, shot a 3-under 69 Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Annika Sorenstam in the suspended second round of the Aerus Electrolux USA Championship.

Burton, who took eight months off last year for surgery on her right shoulder, had five birdies and two bogeys on the soggy Ironhorse Course at the Legends Club. She had only one round in the 60s this year before going 67-69 for an 8-under 136 total.

Burton didn't expect to keep the lead, especially not with first-round leader Sorenstam just starting as Burton finished. Burton has missed two cuts this year with her best finish a tie for 19th in the Long Drugs Challenge.

"It's a position I haven't been in in a long time," said Burton, winless since 1998.

Sorenstam, one of the last players to finish play, had an eagle and a birdie along with three bogeys in an even-par 72.

Danielle Ammaccapane (69) and Laura Diaz (68) were two strokes back at 138, and Pat Hurst (69), Michelle Ellis (71), Wendy Doolan (72) and Wendy Ward (72) followed at 139.

Play was suspended with 24 players still on the course. They will finish the round Saturday morning before the cut, which is projected at 2 over. The players will go off split tees for the third round with thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon.

Forecasters had expected partly sunny skies with temperatures around 70 degrees, and they couldn't have been more wrong.

Lightning and heavy rain forced officials to pull golfers off the course in the morning in a delay that lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes. When golfers returned, they played through intermittent rain with temperatures hovering in the high 50s and a course so sodden that it played much longer than usual.

"I guess you can say I'm kind of a mudder," Burton said. "A couple of my wins have been in pouring down rain. You just have to concentrate. We've had to learn to deal with tough conditions. You're not always going to have perfect weather out there."

Sorenstam had a two-stroke lead after the first round. But she struggled on the back nine she had dominated by going 5 under in the opening round with five straight pars before two consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16.

She rallied with an eagle on the 470-yard, par-5 seventh, hitting a 4-wood to 5 feet with what she called one of her purest shots ever. She blamed her swing, not the weather, for her round before heading to the range for a few minutes of work before complete darkness.

"It was just lucky that I made some good putts," Sorenstam said.

Burton holed three birdie putts longer than 12 feet, including a 20-footer on the par-4 eighth. A 12-footer on No. 9 put her at 8-under. She ran into trouble on the back nine, missing a 6-foot par putt on No. 13

She also hit her tee shot off the fairway under a tree on the par-4 15th. She had to chip out, and two-putted from 20 feet for bogey to drop to 6 under.

Burton rallied with birdies on her final two holes, hitting an 8-iron to 5 feet on No. 17 and knocking a 5-wood on the green at the 469-yard par-5 18th. She two-putted from 50 feet for the birdie that kept her in the lead.

Divots: Defending champion Juli Inkster is 1 over, right at the expected cut line. Nancy Lopez (6 over) is among those expected to miss the cut. ... The rain disrupted parking, forcing officials to move all but one group to a nearby shopping mall for the weekend. Fans and volunteers will be shuttled over to the course.