Sun, Jul 11, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Mallon lucky on 13th hole Friday in Canadian Open

AP , NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIOAND SILVIS, ILLINOIS

Even when Meg Mallon missed, things went her way.

On the 13th hole Friday in the second round of the Canadian Women's Open, Mallon's banged her approach shot off a dead tree. It eventually cost her a stroke, but at least the ball landed in the middle of the 13th fairway -- and not 3m farther into a creek.

"Thank god it went where it went," Mallon said. "I'll take a bogey there."

Mallon can smile because her worst outing in her last four rounds -- going back to her US Women's Open victory last weekend -- was still good enough to keep her atop the leaderboard.

Mallon overcame two bogeys for a 2-under 70 and a 9-under 135 total. That have her a one-stroke lead over Lorena Ochoa, the young Mexican star who shot a 67 on the Legends on the Niagara's Battlefield Course. And that's good enough for Mallon to believe that maybe the worst is behind her.

"It was a good test," said Mallon, a two-time winner in Canada. "I was just happy that I could develop some sort of rhythm out there with a round that absolutely had no momentum whatsoever."

Defending champion Beth Daniel (68), Gloria Park (70), Canadian Dawn Coe-Jones (69) and rookie Aree Song (66) were two strokes back at 7 under. Nancy Scranton (69) was 6 under, and Kim Mi-hyun, fifth on the LPGA Tour money list, shot a 70 to top a group at 5 under.

And they're all chasing Mallon, whose first-round 65 gave her a two-stroke lead. She is 19 under in her last four rounds, including a 6-under 65 in the final round of the US Open on Sunday.

"When she's on, she's on," Ochoa said. "I'll just have to keep playing good."

Coe-Jones has the added pressure of attempting to become the first Canadian to win the event since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973, the tournament's first year.

"Meg's not going to back down," Coe-Jones said. "I think somebody's going to have to go out and shoot two low scores to win. But the beauty of it is that this course is in such great shape that those scores are out there."

Mallon muddled through a slow start, in which she was 2 over through four, ending her streak at 45 holes without a bogey.

She finally rebounded with a birdie on 17, her eighth hole, and added three more on the back nine.

John Deere Classic

Jose Coceres of Argentina has been through too much since his breakthrough 2001 season to let a rain delay bother him.

Derailed by a broken arm and bad play since winning twice in 2001, Coceres waited out a delay of nearly three hours Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the second round before play was suspended because of lightning.

"It's not easy for any player, but you just have to accept it," the 40-year-old player said through a translator.

It's the first time he has had the lead this late in a tournament since winning the National Car Rental Classic in 2001. He also won the Worldcom Classic that year.

"The most important thing right now is that in my mind, I'm doing very well," Coceres said. "I really want to have a good tournament. I'm ready to have a good tournament."

He was 2 under through 11 holes in the second round and 11 under overall when play was suspended.

About half of the players were scheduled to finish the round Saturday morning before the start of the third round.

"I'm in good shape," he said. "I'm 40, but I'm a good 40."

Coceres, a former caddie who taught himself to play with clubs fashioned from branches, was the first-round leader after a career-best 62. He got off to a good start Friday with birdies on two his first four holes, and reached 2 under with a birdie on No. 10 before bogeying the 11th.

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