Sunday, April 6, 2003

Janzen dials 2-stroke BellSouth lead

Sorenstam leads in L.A.

The Associated Press

DULUTH, Ga. - Lee Janzen had a round that would make his sports psychologist proud. He played it one shot at a time, never realizing just how well he was doing until he added up his score.

Janzen surged into the lead in the third round of the BellSouth Classic on Saturday, closing with a 5-under 31 on the back nine for a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead over playing partner Bob Tway.

Janzen, winless in five years, had a 13-under 203 total on the rain-softened TPC at Sugarloaf, which had played hard and fast in the opening two rounds.

"You know what: Until I signed my scorecard, I had no idea what I did," Janzen said. "That's a sports psychologist's dream, for a player to tell him he didn't know he made those birdies."

Heavy rain caused a delay of about an hour Saturday morning before the leaders teed off, and the weather left the course vulnerable.

"It was tough to adjust," Tway said. "The greens, you see what a difference a day makes. They went from rock hard to very soft."

Tway, mired in an eight-year losing streak, held the lead most of the day before a bogey on No. 17. He rallied back with a birdie on the last hole, shooting 69 to stay within two shots of the lead.

"I'm excited," Tway said. "I'd like to give myself a chance. The more times I get there, the more comfortable I'll get. It's a relearning process of getting in that winner's circle."

The two leaders will be joined in the final group today by Tom Pernice Jr., who had 66 for a 206 total. Hank Kuehne, who got into the tournament earlier in the week on a sponsor's exemption, shot a 67 and trailed Janzen by four shots.

Janzen's last victory came in the 1998 U.S. Open, and his five-year exemption from that ends at the end of the season. He's ready to win again.

"It would be exciting," Janzen said. "You know, all I can do is go out there and give it the old college try and play my hardest."

Sorenstam stays in front at Office Depot

LOS ANGELES - Annika Sorenstam putted well early but struggled later on the greens, shooting an even-par 72 to keep the lead at the Office Depot Championship on Saturday.

Sorenstam began the second round with a two-stroke lead over Cindy Figg-Currier and finished it two shots in front of Heather Bowie.

Looking for her first win in three tournaments this year, Sorenstam was at 4-under 140 through 36 holes of the 54-hole event.

Bowie had a second-round 70 to move into contention. Figg-Currier struggled to a 75 that left her seven shots off the lead.

Mi-Hyun Kim was 4 under for the day and 2 under for the tournament when she had to stop on the final fairway because of darkness. She'll finish the hole Sunday morning before beginning the final round.

Three other players, none in close contention, also were unable to complete the second round because of darkness.

Pat Hurst shot a 68 to go to 1 under, and Alison Nicholas had a 72 that also put her at 143.

Defending champion Se Ri Pak, who finished one stroke in front of Sorenstam last year, shot a second-round 71 that left her at even par, four shots off the lead.

Pak, who won five titles last year, already has one win this year, at Phoenix.

Beth Daniel also went to even par through 36 holes at El Caballero Country Club, shooting a second-round 71.

Sorenstam birdied four of the first seven holes; she sank putts of 12 and 18 feet. She rolled in an 8-footer on No. 7 for what turned out to be her final birdie of the day. At that point, she was 8 under and six shots in front.

After bogeying the eighth, ninth and 14th holes, Sorenstam's frustration was evident on No. 16, where she three-putted for her fourth bogey of the day.

After her 4-foot putt rimmed the cup before dropping in on the 16th green, Sorenstam walked over, peered into the hole and shook her head as if to make sure the ball stayed in there.

Sorenstam, who's winless in two events this year, came from 10 strokes back to win this tournament in 2001 at Wilshire Country Club, completing the biggest turnaround in LPGA Tour history.

Sorenstam, who said the course is one of the hardest on the LPGA Tour, was pleased with the round, despite her inconsistency.

Mentioning that the wind swirled some and that greens got a bit bumpy in the afternoon, she said: "Overall, it was difficult out there. I had a lot of good shots. It was tough to putt, but I'm right there and looking forward to tomorrow."

Sorenstam, who will compete against the PGA Tour players in the Colonial next month, finished tied for third at Phoenix and was second in the Kraft Nabisco in her first two outings this year.

An 11-time winner and the LPGA's player of the year - for the fifth time - in 2002, Sorenstam believes her game is rounding into shape again.

"I'm actually happy that I'm hitting the ball better," she said. "I hit some really good shots today, so it seems like it's getting better and better."

Bowie, the 1997 NCAA individual champion at Texas who has yet to win on the LPGA Tour, was pleased to be in contention at El Caballero.

"I had very low expectations coming in, because of this golf course," she said. "If you hit a slightly errant shot here, it's very tough to get up and down. I missed the cut last year, so I'm very happy to be where I am."

Jenny Lidback, who didn't putt out on her final hole of Friday's opening round because of darkness, was back at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday to finish her first round. She two-putted from 40 feet for a 75, then shot a second-round 78 and missed the cut.

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