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Naree Song wins 1st professional title

By Associated Press
Published May 30, 2004

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. - Naree Song won her first professional title Saturday, closing with 6-under-par 66 for a two-stroke victory in the New Innsbrook Country Club Futures Golf Classic.

Song, 18 and the twin sister of young LPGA Tour star Aree Song, matched the tournament record in the final round to overcome a five-stroke deficit. She finished at 8-under 208.

"I called my dad and told him I won, but I don't think he believed me," Song said,

Malinda Johnson (72) finished second.

PGA TOUR: David Toms played so poorly the past two months that he could have gone home to Louisiana until he felt his surgically repaired left wrist was healed.

He's glad he didn't.

Toms, the defending champion, started the third round of the St. Jude Classic with a one-stroke lead over Vaughn Taylor and extended his advantage to seven strokes with 6-under 65 in Memphis.

"I stuck it out, kept grinding every day, showing up on Tuesday, playing a practice round, playing my pro-am days and trying to work hard," Toms said. "And it's finally starting to pay off."

Now the biggest challenge facing Toms as he tries to claim his first tournament since winning the St. Jude in June might be the weather. Officials will send threesomes off the first and 10th tees today in an effort to finish by 4 p.m. and avoid expected severe thunderstorms.

Brian Gay was third after shooting 66 and was followed by Hirofumi Miyase (67).

LPGA TOUR: Michelle Estill is in unfamiliar territory, atop the leaderboard on the weekend. And she's handling it well, even in the face of the world's top female player.

Playing in the final twosome with Annika Sorenstam, Estill matched the Swedish star stroke for stroke and calmly rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to gain a one-shot lead over Sorenstam after three rounds at the Corning Classic in Corning, N.Y.

"Wow!" It's just exciting to be here," said Estill, who finished at 15-under 201 and will begin the final day of a tournament in first place for the first time since she joined the LPGA Tour in 1991.

After blowing a four-shot lead and falling behind by a stroke on the back nine, Estill slowly fought back as Sorenstam struggled. Both finished at 70, and Estill remained where she was when the day started: alone in the lead.

Sorenstam was three strokes ahead of Vicki Goetze-Ackerman. Shi Hyun Ahn, whose 66 was the lowest round on a cool, windy day, was alone in fourth at 206.

SENIOR PGA TOUR: An extra nine holes made no difference to Hale Irwin in the Senior PGA Championship at Louisville, Ky.

Irwin led Dave Barr by a stroke when the third round was suspended because of darkness.

Irwin had nine holes to play in his third round and was at 6 under, right where he was after two rounds, when he had a one-stroke lead over John Harris and Wayne Levi.

Harris, Levi, Tom Watson, Gil Morgan and Jay Haas were two strokes back when play was halted. The players were scheduled to resume the round this morning, with the final round to follow.

EUROPEAN PGA TOUR: Angel Cabrera shot 4-under-par 68 for a one-stroke lead over Justin Rose and three others after three rounds of the Volvo PGA Championship at Virginia Water, England.

Cabrera was at 12-under 204. Rose, the second-round leader, shot 72 and was at 205 with Sweden's Joakim Haeggman (70), South Africa's Darren Fichardt (68) and Scotland's Scott Drummond (68).

Cabrera, who is recovering from the flu, shot consecutive birdies and an eagle from the 10th to the 12th holes. The eagle came on a drive and 7-iron to 15 feet.

[Last modified May 29, 2004, 23:55:14]

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