Originally created 05/17/02

Golf Channel gets up close to players



Heather Bowie had no problem walking around Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club with a microphone strapped to her.

Bowie, along with Catherine Cartwright were miked for play by The Golf Channel during their first nine holes in the first round of the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship. Bowie carded an even-par 72, while Cartwright shot a 77.

"I don't cuss or anything so I didn't have to watch it too much," Bowie said. "But you do always have to be aware of what you're saying. You don't want to say anything negative about anyone."

Mhairi McKay wore a heart-beat monitor Thursday for the cable network. At certain points during McKay's round, a graphic showed how fast her heart was beating.

CHILDS PLAY: Clarissa Childs was all smiles after her opening-round 75. As the fourth alternate, she said was just happy to get the opportunity to play, even if it meant turning down the Augusta National Golf Club.

Her opportunity came at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, when she learned that Suzy Green pulled out of the tournament. An assistant women's golf coach at the University of South Carolina, Childs arrived in Edgefield County late Wednesday afternoon. If she didn't play in this event, she would've played in Augusta with her fellow Lady Gamecocks - who are preparing for next week's national championships.

Childs, who played Mount Vintage for the first time a couple of weeks ago, bogeyed the first hole and struggled with her putter.

"I couldn't get any putts to drop on the front nine," said Childs, a nonexempt member of the tour. "But I'll take that for a first round."

BREAKING THROUGH: Stephanie Keever is trying to change the luck of the Monday qualifiers on tour this season. Nine of the 14 Monday qualifiers have missed the cut with Karen Davies having the best finish - a tie for 45th at the Longs Drugs Challenge.

Keever, an LPGA rookie with nonexempt status, bogeyed her first three holes - Nos. 10, 11 and 12 - before making consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 for a 71. Keever won the tournament's final qualifier spot Monday in a playoff.

IN THE MONEY: With the tournament bumping the purse up from $1.2 million a year ago to $1.25 million, the champion will receive more money. Last year, Tina Fischer collected the first-place prize of $180,000. This year, the winnergets $187,500.

The top 29 players will receive at least $10,000. The second-place finisher will earn $114,156, while third place will collect $82,812.

MEMORY LAPSE: Janice Moodie fired a first-round 70 and it wasn't from her memories of the inaugural Asahi Ryokuken event. Moodie couldn't compare the course conditions Thursday to last year.

"A year is a long time for a blonde," she said.

When told the tournament was held just eight months ago, Moodie replied, "That's right, only eight months. It's still a long time."

SLOW PLAY: Players who teed off Thursday afternoon were delayed by the morning golfers. Two groups were scheduled to go off split tees at noon. However, the groups going off the No. 1 tee were delayed 20 minutes, while the groups going off No. 10 were backed up 25 minutes.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.