Originally created 06/20/03

Barrett takes one-stroke lead in Rochester LPGA



ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Tina Barrett, whose only tour victory came in her rookie year in 1989, birdied the last three holes Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Rochester LPGA.

"I hit some real solid shots but my putting was definitely my best part," said the 37-year-old Barrett, whose 5-under 67 put her one stroke ahead of Anna-Jane Eathorne and two ahead of a group of nine that included defending champion Karrie Webb.

Barrett has never matched the success in her first year on tour.

"I had a good week and I won and I thought that's kind of how it worked," she said. "But it doesn't really work that way and especially now, 15 years later."

Eathorne, 27, whose best finish was a tie for third in 1999, her rookie year, had three birdies over the last four holes at the tree-lined Locust Hill course.

Among those tied with Webb were Rachel Teske, who won last week's Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in a four-way playoff, and Marianne Morris, who continues to struggle since her brother, Mike, her best friend and mentor, was killed in a robbery at their golf shop in suburban Atlanta in 1999.

"I just want to take it one day at a time and be patient and hopefully my number's going to come up," said Morris, 38, who has won close to $1 million since joining the tour in 1990 but has yet to win.

Also at 69 were Grace Park, Jennifer Rosales, Anna Acker-Macosko, Amy Read and South Koreans Jimin Kang and Mi Hyun Kim. Kim held a five-stroke lead in last year's final round before being overtaken by Webb.

Barrett's best finish in nine outings this year was a tie for 20th at the LPGA Championship earlier this month. She has earned $2.49 million in her career, and her most lucrative year was 1999 when she was a runner-up three times.

"The last three (years) have been a bit of a struggle for me," she said. "Before that, I was pretty consistent and in contention a lot more.

"It's been a decent career," she added with a laugh. "I'm definitely a veteran now."

Webb, who also won here in 1999 but has no victories this year, picked up three birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine. She chipped in from the fringe on No. 13 and made putts of 15 and 10 feet on Nos. 15 and 17.

"I fault my concentration a little bit here and there but, all in all, as the year's gone on I've got a little more confidence with my game - everything's starting to click into shape," she said.

For the third straight year, Annika Sorenstam skipped the 27-year-old, $1.2 million tournament, which is sponsored by grocery store chain Wegmans.