Sun, Jun 12, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Sorenstam takes lead in second round

PRO GOLF TOUR Trying to become the first woman in 65 years to win the same golf major three straight seasons, the Swede has rocketed into the lead

AP , HAVRE DE GRACE, MARYLAND

Annika Sorenstam of Sweden hits her tee shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre De Grace, Maryland on Friday. Sorenstam leads the tournament by two strokes.

PHOTO: AFP

Annika Sorenstam seized control of the LPGA Championship with a blazing finish on Friday, three times stuffing her approach shots inside 2 feet for tap-in birdies for a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Laura Davies.

"It's a great rush," Sorenstam said. "You picture something, it feels solid, you look up and it's tap-ins."

Trying to become the first woman in 65 years to win the same major three straight seasons, Sorenstam could not have asked for a better start. She also was the 36-hole leader the last two years in the McDonald's LPGA Championship, when it was played at DuPont Country Club.

Even more frightening for the rest of the players is that Sorenstam isn't even taking advantage of the par 5s, playing them at 1 over in the second round and even par for the week.

"I'm a little disappointed about that," she said. "It's something I've got to figure out."

Everything else was no mystery. By the end of another muggy afternoon at Bulle Rock club, it was crystal clear who was in control of this major.

Sorenstam, who has won five of her seven tournaments this year, was at 9-under 135 and will play with Davies in the final group today.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

An invasion from Down Under has taken over the Booz Allen Classic, where Australian Robert Allenby is on top, with countrymen Adam Scott and Steve Elkington right behind.

Allenby shot a 65 in the second round to give him a 9-under-par total of 133, two strokes ahead of first-round leader Matt Gogel, Lee Westwood, Elkington and defending champion Scott. The leaderboard really isn't surprising, given that hardly a week goes by without someone from the growing Oz contingent making some noise at a PGA Tour event.

"We have so many," Elkington said. "I haven't gotten around to introducing myself to all of them yet. ... As a rule, Australian sportsmen travel really well. They've always done well in the Olympics and big events for some reason. Australians can leave their home and compete and do well."

Allenby's round was the best of the day on the unusually player-friendly Blue Course at Congressional Country Club. He was pleased to put together a complete performance as he deals with a mysterious swelling in his hands that has pained him for months.

Allenby said he woke up with two swollen hands after the Nissan Open in February. Even now, he can't make a fist with his right hand when he first wakes up, so he runs hot water over it to relieve the stiffness.

"At first we thought I had rheumatoid arthritis, or some sort of arthritis," Allenby said. "We did a bunch of blood tests. Last week or two, it's only just started to go down. Only a couple of fingers in my right hand feel a little stiff and achy, but my left hand feels much better. ... I've had no feel, no touch around the greens at all. Even to this day we still don't know what was causing it."

R.W. Eaks overcame a shanked sand wedge on the third hole to shoot a season-best 7-under 65 for a share of the first-round lead with Gil Morgan in the Champions Tour's Bayer Advantage Classic.

Jim Ahern opened with a 66, and hometown favorite Tom Watson, playing with Jack Nicklaus on a course the Golden Bear designed, was in a group at 67 along with Dana Quigley, Rodger Davis, Don Pohl, Lonnie Nielsen, Gary McCord, Mark McNulty and another Kansas City native, Jim Colbert.

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