Sun, Jul 18, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Park feels better in lead

AP , VIENNA, OHIO ANDENDICOTT, NEW YORK

Gloria Park of South Korea on the 17th hole in the opening round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Gloria Park had 10 birdies in a 6-under 66 and held a one-stroke lead in the tournament she almost didn't play in.

She was sick Thursday night and seriously considered withdrawing before the first round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic Friday at Squaw Creek Country Club.

"I feel pretty good now," Park said. "Yesterday my stomach was hurting and I threw up during the night."

Yang Young-A had a 67 and Donna Andrews was another stroke back. Marilyn Lovander, Nadina Taylor and Laura Diaz all had 69s.

Defending champion Rachel Teske struggled all day and finished with a 75.

Park has been bothered by a sore left wrist over the past three months.

"My wrist was still hurting," she said. "I was getting ultrasound on it this morning and actually asked one of the sponsors if they had any alternates because I really wasn't feeling well."

Park tied her personal best for birdies in a round but also struggled at times. She had two bogeys and double-bogeyed the 163-yard, par-3 12th.

"At that point I was really mad," Park said of hitting a 4-iron long off the tee. "On this golf course you don't want to be over the green on a few holes and that was one of them."

The field is anything but stellar. Pat Hurst, who shot a 73, is the only other golfer here in the top 20 on the money list. She is 18th.

That gives players like Yang hope. The 25-year-old has missed the cut in 10 of 15 starts this year. Yang, like Park, is from South Korea. She has never finished higher than sixth.

"I made a birdie on my first hole, which was No. 10, and I had about a 14-footer," Yang said. "I think after that I was pretty confident."

Yang had only one bogey. She missed the green on the 526-yard, par-5 2nd and missed a 10-foot par putt. That didn't bother her as she came back to record birdies on Nos. 5 and 6, the latter coming when her approach shot hit a tree and rolled within 2 feet of the cup.

"The last couple of events I have stumbled on a few holes and that changes the momentum," Yang said. "Today I was pretty aggressive and I felt my focus was a little off [on the back nine]. But I talked to my caddie and I feel I have gotten over the stumbling."

While Park's medical issues were short-term and unexpected, Andrews has had her own woes for most of her career. She's playing in just her second event in 10 weeks because of a dislocated right shoulder, which happened while trying to pull apart two fighting dogs. She had the same injury in 1999 when she was thrown off a horse.

"I couldn't live life without my four-legged critters," the 37-year-old said. "It's not an option. I've been injured so much during my career anyways I think my [name] is Donna 'Rehab' Andrews.'"

BC Open

Six months ago, Jonathan Byrd didn't know where his PGA Tour career was headed.

After shooting an 83 in the third round at Pebble Beach, he went to see his trainer, then a doctor who suggested surgery to fix two tears in his right hip. Two weeks after his 26th birthday, the operation was performed in Pittsburgh -- on Friday the 13th of February -- and Byrd went home to Georgia to recover.

"The doctor told me so quick what was wrong," Byrd said. "I wanted to fix it and get back to playing. I didn't see any reason to play the rest of the year injured."

It has been a long road back, but he's sure showing signs of the type of play that produced a win in the Buick Challenge in 2002, his rookie season, and 19 top-25 finishes in 61 tournaments.

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