Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Mallon, Davies lead ADT

AP , WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Grace Park of South Korea tees off during the Championship at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Meg Mallon and Laura Davies each turned 40 this year. They wish that was all they had in common.

Shut out in the win column on the LPGA Tour this year, Mallon and Davies put themselves in position to break through at just the right time. The contemporaries moved into the lead at 2-under 142 on Friday after two rounds of the season-ending ADT Championships.

Mallon shot a 1-under 71 and Davies rallied from two early bogeys for a 69 to set up a Saturday pairing of two players with four second-place finishes and no wins between them this year on the LPGA Tour.

"Obviously, when you were considered a champion, you don't like to be forgotten about," said Davies, who has 20 wins on the LPGA Tour, 65 worldwide and was the 1996 Player of the Year. "I'm no longer a big fish. I'm a little fish, and it's not something you like when you've had the attention."

Another fortysomething, Rosie Jones, shot 67 for the day's best round to pull within a shot of the lead. Jones is tied with Cristie Kerr (69) and Se Ri Pak, who all but wrapped up the Vare Trophy with her 70.

It would take at least a 14-shot swing with Grace Park, who stood at 151, to deny Pak the award that goes to the player with the lowest scoring average among those who have played a minimum 70 rounds. If Pak wins the trophy and the tournament, she'll earn a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

One behind Pak is defending champion and top-ranked Annika Sorenstam, who shot a 70 to get to even par. Sorenstam was diagnosed with conjunctivitis (pink eye) Thursday and played with only one contact. For the second round, she decided to go without contacts in either eye. To be at her best Saturday, she's going to ignore doctor's orders and put both contacts back in.

"This tournament is too important to me," Sorenstam said.

Sorenstam could have been even closer had she not three-putted from 12 feet on the par-4 16th hole and made bogey, the main hiccup in an otherwise solid day on the Trump International Golf Course.

The Donald's tough, 6,506-yard track played about 1.8 strokes easier than in the first round, thanks mostly to wind that stayed much calmer than Thursday.

That didn't help first-round leader Laura Diaz. Diaz shot a 77 to enter the weekend at 2 over, tied for ninth in a field limited to the top 30 players on the money list.

Mallon has been consistent despite the weather. This was her second straight 71, and it put her in position to win for the first time since August 2002, when she took the Canadian Women's Open for her 14th career LPGA Tour victory.

"I'm always out there thinking about what I need to do to win," said Mallon, who has three majors and more than US$7 million in career winnings. "I won't be out there giving my acceptance speech on No. 2. But I've been in position before and I've won a lot of different ways, so I've got a lot of experience up there."

She and Davies also know what it's like to finish second, and it's not a feeling they enjoy. In a sport where a player can make a good living by simply finishing high -- Mallon and Davies both will earn more than US$550,000 this year -- winning is still the ultimate goal. Davies, who did win the European tour's Australian Open at the beginning of this year, wants to avoid being shut out on the LPGA Tour for the second straight season.

"From the moment I tee it up, I think about winning, and the disappointment hits you when you realize you can't win," Davies said. "Finishing second is OK. It pays the mortgage. But if you consider it a career, not just a job, it has to be about the winning."

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