Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Sorenstam slips further behind leaders at British Open

TROUBLED OUTING The Swede is now at 4-over after a disappointing round that gave Heather Bowie a chance to shine at Lytham St. Annes with a 66 for an overall 136

AP , LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam plays a shot out of the bunker at the third green at the Women's Open Golf tournament at Royal Lytham St Anne's in northern England yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Annika Sorenstam slipped four shots off the pace yesterday as Heather Bowie -- still looking for her first tournament victory -- shot a 66 to open a two-stroke clubhouse lead.

With defending champion Karrie Webb going out later at 5-under, Sorenstam had a chance to make a charge in a championship which has given her three runners up checks but never the title.

But the Swede, who started out 4-under, mustered just three birdies and had three bogeys on her level par 72 to finish at 4-over 140.

By contrast Bowie, who tied for second at the Office Depot tournament at El Caballero, California in April for her best result in three years on the LPGA Tour, birdied five of the first 10 holes and also made a three at the tough par-4 17th to post an 8-under score of 136.

She made a 65 in the second round at last year's championship at Turnberry -- tying her best score as a pro.

"I'd say that was my best competitive round and this one was just as good," said Bowie, from Fort Worth, Texas. "I don't know what it about Fridays at the British."

Among the early clubhouse leaders, she leads Pak Se-ri , a four-time major titlist and 2001 British Open winner, by two strokes. The South Korean, who had a nightmare first visit to Lytham as a rookie in 1998, posted her second 69 for a halfway score of 138.

"This was wholly different from '98. I have very bad memories of that time," said the Korean who tied for 34th on her first visit after three rounds in the high 70s. "After that I learned a lot about my game and became much smarter."

Wendy Ward, who tied for the lead after an opening round 67, dropped shots at the the first holes but rallied with three birdies and was 5-under after seven.

Patricia Meunier Lebouc, winner of the first major of the year _ the Nabisco at Mission Hills -- also was on 5-under after a 69 and so was Lorena Ochoa after her 7-under 65. The Mexican made seven birdies in a bogey-free round.

Japan's Akiko Fukushima, who won the amateur trophy at the same tournament 12 years ago at age 17, also was 5-under after she picked up six strokes in nine holes from the seventh in conditions that varied from sunny to windy to rainy.

"This week the conditions were softer than I had expected so that helped a little bit," the Japanese said after her 67 and two-round total of 139. "But they also weren't made easy because of the rain."

She said she remembered little about winning the Smyth Salver for being the lowest scoring amateur at Woburn in 1991 when she tied for 22nd.

"All I remember was that I couldn't take the trophy back to Japan," she said. "I wanted it so bad but I couldn't bring it back because it has to stay in England."

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