Sat, Jul 30, 2005 - Page 19 News List

British Open experiences a big chill

PRO GOLF TOUR The weather dictated events, with Jeong Jang of China battling the conditions best to achieve a 68, four under par for the 6,463-yard course

AP , SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND

Paula Creamer of the US tees off on the sixth hole, on the first day of the Women's British Open at the Royal Birkdale course near Southport, England, Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

Leading the teenage takeover of women's golf, Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer lie seven shots off the lead going into the second round of the British Open.

Don't count them out yet.

"I don't think I'm that far behind with the conditions like this," said Wie, the 15-year-old Hawaiian amateur who is expected to dominate women's golf for years to come. "I have three more days to go. We're not finished yet."

Creamer, 18-year-old winner of last week's Evian Masters in France, is confident of a low second round after she also carded a 3-over 75. "Tomorrow I'll be out early so I'll try to go as low as I can," she said.

She believes that whereas Thursday's early starters had better weather at the start of their rounds than she did in the afternoon, she would have that advantage Friday by beginning early.

She may be wrong. The rain, wind and chilly weather that caught the players Thursday is forecast to hang around for another day at least.

The weather dictated events Thursday, with Jeong Jang of China battling the conditions best to seize the lead on 68, four under par for the 6,463-yard course.

Sophie Gustafson, the 2000 winner here, was one behind, followed by Chile's Nicole Perrot.

Wie took Thursday's weather as a positive.

"When the wind and the rain start flying like this, the golf course becomes really different," she said. "It's really exciting. It was a new experience for me."

Tiger Woods' two dominant runs came to a startling halt.

Woods followed up his five-shot victory at the British Open and eight straight rounds in the 60s at Warwick Hills with a 1-under 71 in the first round.

"It's been a while where I didn't get anything out of my round, not one shot," Woods said.

Nick Watney, whose only previous notable moment was playing with Michelle Wie earlier this month, headed into Friday's second round at 8 under, one shot ahead of Vijay Singh and Jason Bohn.

The 24-year-old rookie has missed seven straight cuts, breaking 70 only once, after his season-best 11th-place finish at the Wachovia Championship.

"I was pretty low there for a while, so it was nice to have a round like this," he said.

Watney was in Wie's group at the John Deere Classic, where he finished six shots behind the 15-year-old phenom.

Jim Furyk (66) and five others went into the second round two shots behind the unlikely leader.

"I'm in a position right now that I think about trying to stay at the top, and not just to make the cut," Watney said.

Woods had his worst round at the Buick Open since his first in 1997, and ended his tournament-record tying streak of eight straight rounds in the 60s. Woods won here in 2002, then tied for second and third the past two years.

"I didn't play awful, that's the great thing," Woods said. "I'll just go ahead and handle my business [Friday] and if I get something out of my round, I'll be fine."

If Woods doesn't, he will be in danger of missing the cut for the second time this year. He missed the cut in May at the Byron Nelson Championship, the first time in more than seven years he left a tournament before it ended.

The cut at the Buick Open is usually between 2 under and 4 under.

Marc Cayeux of Zimbabwe shot an 8-under-par 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the 1.6 million euros (US$1.92 million) Scandinavian Masters.

It's the first time the 27-year-old English-born Cayeux has been in the lead of a European Tour event, and his score would have tied the Kungsangen's King's Course record but for the soggy course that resulted in preferred lies.

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