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Killeen's clean round has drought on ropes

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Published June 20, 2004

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Winless in 12 years on the LPGA Tour, Denise Killeen moved closer to ending her drought Saturday, shooting 6-under-par 65 to take a two-stroke lead at 12-under in the ShopRite LGPA Classic.

First-round co-leader Giulia Sergas was two back, while Cristie Kerr and 17-year-old amateur Paula Creamer were also in contention, four off the lead.

After shooting par for five holes, Killeen made short putts for birdie on the sixth and eighth holes, and then finished with a flourish. She birdied the last four holes for a two-day total of 130, tying the Classic record for 36 holes. She had the same score in Friday's opening round.

A little bit of luck helped.

On the 17th, a dogleg left, Killeen landed her tee shot in the rough but used a pitching wedge to hit a high-arching shot that dropped near the back of the green.

The ball hit the fringe and seemed to hug it, following the semicircular cut and then rolling downhill toward the hole, coming to rest 3 feet from the pin to set up an easy birdie putt. She made it.

She picked up another stroke on the 18th, landing her second shot on the green of the 508-yard hole and two-putting for a birdie.

"Once those good things start to happen, you try to build on them," said Killeen, bogey-free for two days.

But she's had precious little to build on through the years.

Since joining the tour in 1992, Killeen never has finished better than a tie for fourth. She has missed the cut in four of 10 events this year. But on Saturday, she had a rooting section - 6-year-old son, Drew, and 4-year-old daughter, Kaleigh.

"My 6-year-old, this is the first day he wanted to come out and watch me," Killeen said.

Sergas used a deft touch with her pitching wedge to set up birdie putts of 3 feet on No. 2 and 9 feet on No. 4.

A pair of bogeys - she drove into the rough on the eighth hole and three-putted the 12th green - set her back, but she bounced back with two birdies after that.

She, too, was optimistic about her chances for her first LPGA title.

"I feel really calm. I usually get nervous, like my heart beats really fast. I don't know, (it's) surprising, I'm really calm. And I just want to play," Sergas said.

Creamer, a high school senior playing with her boyfriend as her caddie, had nine birdies, including five in a row, en route to 64 that put her in contention.

Defending champion Angela Stanford missed the 2-over cut by a stroke.

STATE AMATEUR: South Florida senior Brad Quiri of Tampa and RJ Nakashian led after three rounds at the 87th Florida State Amateur Championship at the Club at TwinEagles in Naples. The final round is today. Quiri and Nakashian led the field of 72 with a three-round total of 5-under 211. Quiri shot 5-under 67 in the third round to jump into the lead.

PGA EUROPEAN: David Geall shot 4-under 67 to jump into a six-way tie for the lead after three rounds of the Aa Saint Omer Open in France.

Geall, Simon Dyson (70), Massimo Florioli (69), Jean-Francois Lucquin (69), Pasi Purhonen (68) and Carl Suneson (73) were at 3 under for the event.

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