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Golf briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001


Sorenstam's window of chance narrows

LINCOLN, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam hoped that three more rounds would make up for a slow start in the Longs Drugs Challenge. Now she has only two to tie the record for consecutive LPGA Tour wins.

After initially delaying the start of Friday's second round because of steady rain, tour officials called off the round and shortened the tournament to 54 holes.

Most of the players had been alerted about the delay before leaving for the Twelve Bridges Golf Club. The few players on the scene when the round was canceled at mid-morning scampered to waiting cars.

Sorenstam, vying for a record-tying fifth straight victory, shot 1-over-par 73 Thursday, seven strokes behind leader Se Ri Pak. She stayed at her hotel Friday morning.

"Traditions over the years have provided for an accepted test in golf, and that allows for 72 holes," Sorenstam said. "I would have liked to see it get there, be it 36 Sunday or even a Monday finish.

"This decision to go to 54 seems a little premature."

Pak, who shot 6-under 66, also never arrived at the club Friday.

"The ultimate decision, rather than putting the players through this or putting them out there and pulling them back in all day, we decided to make it a 54-hole tournament," director Brian Flajole said.

Weather also was a problem Thursday. Play was suspended for nearly an hour in the late afternoon because of lightning.

Sorenstam is attempting to tie Nancy Lopez's five straight tournament wins set in 1978.

The forecast for today was partly cloudy with slightly higher temperatures.

HOUSTON OPEN: Lee Janzen shot 4-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour event at the Woodlands, Texas.

The two-time U.S. Open winner had bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9, missing makable putts, but he birdied three of his final four holes for 9-under 135 for 36 holes.

Joe Durant, who shared the first-round lead with Janzen, was a stroke back after 69. Tom Pernice Jr. (67) was at 137.

"I should have won here in 1998, but I fell apart on the back nine," Janzen said. "I had three bogeys and a double. Any time I think about Houston, I remember that."

LAS VEGAS SENIOR CLASSIC: Stewart Ginn, Jose Maria Canizares and Hugh Baiocchi shot 4-under 68 to share the first-round lead of the Senior PGA Tour event. Defending champion Larry Nelson was a stroke back with Jerry McGee and Vicente Fernandez.

"It was tough to pick a club on a few holes because of the wind," said Ginn, who had a bogey-free round, as did Canizares. "It was critical you hit in the right spot on the greens. Otherwise, it was a nightmare."

SPANISH OPEN: Darren Clarke's second-round 68 gave him a share of the lead at Valencia with Andrew Raitt, who also shot 67-68. They were at 9-under 135, a stroke ahead of three others. First-round leader Andrew Oldcorn shot 1-over 73 and was two shots back with Andrew Coltart in the European PGA Tour event.

FUTURES TOUR: Beth Bauer of Tampa shot 1-under 71 and was four shots behind leader Kim Young, along with two others, after the first round of the Southwestern Bell Classic at Richardson, Texas.

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