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Golf briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001


Hoch has 9th win in sight

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Scott Hoch missed several short par putts at the Greater Greensboro Classic. But he promised not to misjudge his competition after taking his first 54-hole lead since 1998.

And Hoch, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, warned a trio of non-winners not to misjudge his desire to win again.

"If Tiger (Woods) was a shot back I might be a little bit worried," said Hoch, who shot 5-under-par 67 Saturday to go to 13 under heading into the final round of the $3.5-million event.

Hoch, 45, held a one-shot lead over Mike Sposa, the second-round leader, Jerry Kelly and David Berganio Jr., all of whom were at 12-under 204 but never have won on the tour.

"They are hungry, but I'm pretty hungry too," said Hoch, who criticized the short rough last week but has settled into a nice groove.

Hoch followed a pair of 68s with another solid round to move into position for his first win in three-plus years. His round would have been better, but he three-putted two greens on the back nine for bogeys.

Sposa, the event's putting leader, couldn't get much going and shot 70, the highest among the contenders. Kelly had 67, Berganio 68.

KATHY IRELAND CHAMPIONSHIP: It wouldn't be the LPGA without international players all over the leaderboard. Colombia's Marisa Baena emerged from the pack with 6-under 64 for a share of the lead with American Rosie Jones. Baena and Jones, who led by two after the second round, entered today's final round in Austin, Texas, at 9-under 201.

For Jones (68), it's a chance to end the Americans' 10-tournament losing streak this year, the longest without an American winner in LPGA history.

"To heck with that," Jones said of the streak. "I'm going to get it over with."

She'll have to do it against Baena, who said she's playing the best golf of her short career, and a leaderboard stacked with South Korean Mi Hyun Kim one shot back and Canada's Lorie Kane at 7 under. In a topsy-turvy day, each of the top four players held at least a share of the lead.

Dottie Pepper, who came out of the pack on the last day to finish second last year, shot 68, leaving her four strokes back. Pepper's victory in November in the Arch Wireless Championship was the last tour win by an American.

BRUNO'S MEMORIAL CLASSIC: Gil Morgan matched the course record with 9-under 63 despite a bogey on the final hole, and first round co-leader Hale Irwin shot 65 to share the senior lead after two days in Hoover, Ala. Morgan and Irwin had 14-under 130. Stewart Ginn was two strokes back after 65, and Tom Kite and Allen Doyle shot 67 and were at 11 under. First-round co-leader Jose Maria Canizares shot 72-137.

PORTUGUESE OPEN: Second-round leader Padraig Harrington three-putted from 10 feet on the 17th hole to fall into a five-way tie for the lead of the European PGA event in Faro. Harrington shot 1-under 71 to match Sven Struver (65), Stephen Scahill (66), David Gilford (69) and Simon Dyson (69) at 11-under 205.

COLEMAN CLASSIC: Tampa's Beth Bauer shot 70 for 5-under 139 and trailed Russy Gulyanamitta (67) and first-round leader Mayumi Nakajima by a stroke on the Futures Tour in Wichita, Kan.

TIGER IMPERSONATOR: A man who used Tiger Woods' identity to steal $17,000 worth of goods was sentenced to 200 years-to-life in prison in Sacramento, Calif. Anthony Lemar Taylor was convicted of falsely obtaining a driver's license using the name Eldrick T. Woods, Woods' Social Security number and his birth date. Though he looks nothing like golf's best player, the 30-year-old Taylor used the false identification and credit cards to buy a 70-inch TV, stereos and a used luxury car between August 1998 and August 1999. Judge Michael Virga gave Taylor the maximum sentence under California's three-strikes law Friday.

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