Mon, Jul 12, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Mallon boosts lead during third round of Canadian Open

AP , NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO

US Women's Open champion Meg Mallon shot a 7-under 65 Saturday to extend her lead after the third round of the Canadian Women's Open.

She's now 16-under 200 for the tournament, four strokes ahead of second-place Beth Daniel, the defending champion who shot a 67 in the third round.

Mallon's run -- she's 26-under in her last five rounds of competition -- has put her in position to become only the third woman to follow a US Women's Open victory by winning an LPGA event the following week.

Pak Se-ri was the last to do so in 1998 by winning the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, joining Jane Geddes, who accomplished the feat in 1986. Louise Suggs also won back-to-back events in 1952, but that's when the All-America Women's Open was held six weeks after the US Open.

"It's Meg's golf tournament right now," Daniel said. "Somebody's going to have to go real low to catch Meg tomorrow. ... She's on a run right now that every golfer dreams about."

Canadian Dawn Coe-Jones (69) and Lorena Ochoa (70) are six shots back in a tie for third at the US$1.3 million event being held at the Legends on the Niagara Battlefield course.

While several women count both the US Open and Canadian event among their victories, no one has ever won the two in same year.

Mallon has led since a first-round 65. If she shoots a 3-under in the final round she would break the tournament record of 18 under, set by Brandie Burton's in Windsor, Ontario, in 1998.

She struggled in the second round, leading Ochoa by just a stroke after two bogeys and four birdies. On Saturday, she started strong.

Mallon opened the third round with a 15-footer for birdie on No. 1, before adding three more on holes 6,7 and 8. She had a chance for a fourth on 9 when her 7-footer stopped at the edge of the cup. Mallon then birdied 13, 15 and 17.

Mallon was efficient and accurate, hitting 15 green's in regulation, 13 of 14 fairways and needing only 26 putts. Of her last 79 holes going back to the third round of the US Open, she's played 77 of them at par or better.

Mallon has the opportunity to become the first LPGA player to win back-to-back tournaments since Candie Kung won the Wachovia LPGA Classic and State Farm Classic last August. Mallon, who won the Canadian Open in 2002 and 2000, also has a chance to match Pat Bradley, who won this event in 1980, 1985 and 1986.

Second on the money list with US$807,194, Mallon also has chance at a winner's share of US$195,000, which would cut into Annika Sorenstam's lead of US$1,389,654.

Daniel continued climbing after sitting third.

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