Saturday, May 04, 2002

Choi leads by 1 in New Orleans

Rain plays havoc with LPGA, senior tournaments

The Associated Press

        NEW ORLEANS — South Korea's K.J. Choi shot a 7-under-par 65 Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Dan Forsman after the second round of the Compaq Classic.

        “He's never led in the United States, so it is a new experience,” Choi's translator said. “But if everything goes as today, he keeps the pace up and gets a better feel for the conditions, he thinks he has a very good shot this weekend.”

        Choi had an 11-under 133 total on the English Turn course.

        The wind, which had gusted at more than 27 mph Thursday, was gusting at 20 Friday. The temperature hit 90, breaking the record for the day of 88.

        Forsman, the first-round leader, shot a 69.

        “It's been awhile,” said the 43-year-old Forsman, who won the last of his four PGA titles in 1992.

        He needed only 26 putts Friday for a two-day total of 50.

        “I think I have a good chance to play well this weekend,” Forsman said. “Because I'm putting well and striking the ball well.”

        Tim Clark (67) was third at 9 under, and former Georgia Tech star Bryce Molder (67) and Billy Andrade (66) followed at 8 under.

        Molder, who set the NCAA record for lowest career scoring average (70.69), used his fourth exemption of the year to jump up from the Buy.Com Tour to the PGA Tour.

        “I started hitting well at about the 13th, 14th, 15th hole, started driving well,” said Molder, who began play on No.10. “I was already hitting irons well, so I felt really good about the round.”

        Geoff Ogilvie (67) was 7 under along with John Rollins (69) and Rich Beem (70). Ogilvie had two eagles and three birdies in a five-hole stretch en route to a back-nine 30.

        “I started really well, five good holes,” Ogilvie said. “Disappointing finish. I had three bogeys in a row on the last four or five holes. It's a shame, because I had been in good shape.”

        Defending champion David Toms was five strokes back at 6 under after his second straight 69.

        “I haven't played my best golf, but I've played consistent golf,” Toms said. “I haven't made a lot of mistakes.”

        Choi had six birdies, an eagle and one bogey Friday. He finished strong with a birdie on 10, an eagle on 15 and a birdie on the difficult 18th.

        “He's well aware that the 18th hole was kind of difficult because of the bunkers and the wind condition,” Choi's translator said. “He said that today his tee shot was good, that's why he was lucky.”

        His second shot was also good, hitting the pin and stopping a foot from the hole.

        Jeff Maggert had a hole-in-one on No.17 en route to a 70 and a 5-under 139 total. Maggert has three career aces on the tour.

        CHICK-FIL-A: After the first thunderstorm rumbled past Eagles Landing Country Club at Stockbridge, Ga., Kelly Robbins sank a testy putt, then attacked the soft greens.

        Robbins shot an 8-under 64 in the opening round before another storm arrived, halting play with many of the top players still on the course Friday.

        Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak were among those unable to finish because of drenching rain and howling wind. The round was suspended until this morning, when the players will face a sloppy course even if the rain relents through the night.

        Sorenstam, who has dominated the LPGA Tour this season, got off to a rather lackluster start but was still 2 under through 12 holes.

        Pak also was at 2 under with six holes left, while Webb was 3 under after playing 10 holes.

        They'll have to work hard to catch up with Robbins, who was on her second hole when morning showers halted play for 1hour, 20 minutes.

        Upon returning to the course, Robbins faced a 7-footer to save par. She made it, then went on to post six birdies and an eagle.

        “After a rain delay, it's pretty nice to come out and do that,” Robbins said.

        The rain-soaked fairways favored long hitters such as Robbins, who didn't have to rely on getting a lengthy roll from her tee shots. Tournament host Nancy Lopez was 1 over through 11 holes.

        BRUNO'S MEMORIAL: Larry Nelson and Dana Quigley shared the first-round lead at Hoover, Ala., in the Bruno's Memorial Classic when play was suspended because of thunderstorms. The players will complete the round starting this morning before the second round. The leaders were both at 7-under par, with Nelson completing 14 holes and Quigley playing 13.

        Quigley made his 178th consecutive start, breaking the Senior PGA Tour record he shared with Mike McCullough. Nelson, a native of nearby Fort Payne, won the Bruno's in 1999.

        The $1.4 million tournament is being played on the Greystone Golf and Country Club's Founder's Course in suburban Birmingham.

        FRENCH OPEN: South Africa's Trevor Immelman shot an 8-under 64 to take a four-stroke lead in Versailles. Immelman, 22, had a 12-under 132 total on Le Golf National's Albatross Course. Defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 67 to join Eduardo Romero (65) and Jean-Francois Remesy (69) at 8-under 136.


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