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Heinen leads John Deere Classic

©Associated Press
July 26, 2002

SILVIS, Ill. -- Mike Heinen, trying to regain full PGA Tour membership, shot 8-under-par 63 Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk in the John Deere Classic.

Heinen, the 1994 Houston Open winner who has split the past two seasons between the PGA Tour and Buy.com Tour, is making his third straight start on the top circuit.

"I've been playing pretty well and it helps that I was in three tour events in a row," said Heinen, who had just 26 putts and one-putted eight greens on the TPC at Deere Run.

"I had a lot of 10- and 12-footers and probably made most of them. But I feel like I left a couple of shots out there. It was just a real solid day. I kind of felt in control all day."

Defending champion David Gossett was two strokes back along with Tripp Isenhour and Robert Gamez. Spike McRoy, the B.C. Open winner last weekend, was another stroke back at 66 in a group that included Duffy Waldorf, Peter Jacobsen and Nolan Henke.

Funk, second in the B.C. Open, had seven birdies in a bogey-free round. He opened the round with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole, and hit every fairway and green in regulation.

"I really had a shot at birdie on almost every hole, so I played exceptionally well from tee to green and drove the ball really well," Funk said. "The golf course is in fabulous shape, so if you hit it well, it's going to reward you."

Gossett also had a bogey-free round.

"I'm hitting the ball well and I feel like I'm putting good," Gossett said. "I have been making progress over the past several months. I feel like my week is coming, so to speak, where I am getting close to breaking through and getting a really good chance to win."

BIG APPLE CLASSIC: Kathryn Marshall, No. 79 on the LPGA Tour money list, and Minny Yeo, 150th on the earnings sheet, shot 3-under 68 to share the first-round lead in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The unlikely leaders were one shot in front of a group of four and two strokes in front of another 11 players, including Karrie Webb.

This is the first tournament for Annika Sorenstam and Juli Inkster, ranked 1-2 on the money list, since the U.S. Open on July 7. Both took the past two weeks off and Sorenstam had the better return with 71. Inkster was at 4-over 75 on the 6,161-yard Wykagyl Country Club course.

Yeo, who has won $9,906 in three events this year, shot the best round of her career.

"All day I had pretty far from the pin, so I made a lot of putts," said Yeo, the 30-year-old South Korean who joined this field Monday when countrywoman Se Ri Pak withdrew. "This is my third year, so I think I better play better this time."

Marshall, a 35-year-old Scot, is in her 10th year on tour with one victory -- the Jamie Farr Classic in 1995. She has won $63,254 this year in 16 events but has missed the cut in her past four starts.

"It's been a tough last month but I took off last week and recharged," Marshall said. "I went to Canada and went boating and jet-skiing, everything but golf."

Tampa's Beth Bauer shot 70 and was two back.

DUTCH OPEN: Tobias Dier shot a European PGA Tour record-tying 10-under 60 to take the lead after the first round of the $1.82-million event in Hilversum, Netherlands.

Dier made 10 birdies against no bogeys during his course-record round, the 10th time a player has carded 60 on the European tour.

SENIOR BRITISH: Tom Watson began his first Senior British Open at Royal County Down with eagle at the first hole and finished the day at 1-under 70 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland.

That left the five-time British Open champion three strokes off the lead held by Noboru Sugai.

Russell Weir was a shot back at 68, with two other Scots -- John Chillas and Peter Kerr -- at 69.

Watson thought his round could have been slightly better.

"I left a little bit out there today, but not a lot, because I didn't hit the ball that well," he said.

He had four bogeys and three birdies after the opening eagle, which came on a drive and a 4-iron to 6 feet.

U.S. GIRLS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Qualifying medalist In-Bee Park of Eustis won two matches to advance to the quarterfinals in Westfield, N.J.

The 14-year-old Park beat Laura Caniff 4 and 3 in the second round of match play, and edged Stephanie Connelly 1-up in the third round on the Echo Lake course. Park faces Jean Reynolds of Newnan, Ga., in the quarterfinals. Reynolds beat Mallorie Underwood 2 and 1 and Mallory Code of Tampa 1-up. In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, Julieta Granada faces Hannah Jun.

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