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Golf briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 4, 2000

Nothing quiet about Kean's first tour win SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Laurel Kean's first victory in 12 years as a professional came with an exclamation point.

Kean, who played at the University of South Florida, nearly matched the lowest winning 54-hole score in LPGA Tour history Sunday as she coasted to a six-stroke win at the State Farm Rail Classic.

The 37-year-old Ohio native was a model of consistency at the Rail Golf Club, shooting three straight 6-under-par 66s for 18-under 198. She finished within one shot of the LPGA record, set at this event by Pat Bradley in 1991.

A year after leaving the tour to teach golf, Kean captured the $135,000 first prize and avoided Qualifying School, gaining a two-year exemption. She made the most of her opportunity after winning a two-hole playoff with Caroline Gowan in Monday's qualifier for the final spot in the field.

"I almost thought I would get in anyway as the fifth alternate," Kean said. "So I knew I had that cushion. I just walked out there and felt comfortable. As far as after that, I didn't really think about the total picture. I just took it day to day."

Dina Ammaccapane shot 69 and defending champion Mi Hyun Kim shot 68 to tie for second at 12-under 204. Pat Hurst had 67 to finish another stroke back.

Karrie Webb, the tour leader with six victories this year, closed with 72 to finish 13 back at 211.

AIR CANADA CHAMPIONSHIP: Rory Sabbatini made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for his first PGA Tour title, a one-stroke victory at Surrey, British Columbia.

Sabbatini, 24, a native of South Africa who lives in Tucson, Ariz., closed with 6-under 65 for 16-under 268.

"I limited the mistakes and kept myself in the game," Sabbatini said. "I kept it solid and kept focusing on what I was trying to do. I'm just really happy."

Grant Waite, who started the round with a one-stroke lead, shot 69 to finish second. Mark Calcavechia closed with 67 to finish third at 270.

Chris Riley birdied five straight holes on the back nine for 68. He tied for fourth at 271 with Sergio Garcia (69), Mike Clark II (63) and Doug Barron (67).

"Unfortunately I didn't play very well on the front nine," said Garcia, who birdied three of his last seven holes.

FOREMOST INSURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Larry Nelson won his second straight tournament by breaking course and tournament records in the Senior PGA Tour event at Ada, Mich.

Nelson, who won last week's FleetBoston Classic, shot a bogey-free 9-under 63 to finish at 18-under 198 and win by three over Dave Stockton at the Egypt Valley Country Club.

After entering the day with a one-stroke lead, Nelson broke the course 18-hole record by one shot and the 54-hole record by one.

Nelson won his fourth title of the season to tie Bruce Fleisher for the tour lead. He also passed Hale Irwin for second place on the money list behind Fleisher with the $165,000 first prize boosting his season total to $1.938-million.

Stockton, who started the day in second place, carded 65 for his best finish of the season. Jim Thorpe tied for third with Al Geiberger at 11-under 205.

BMW INTERNATIONAL OPEN: Thomas Bjorn shot 5-under 67 to beat Bernhard Langer by three strokes at Munich, Germany, for his first win of the year.

Bjorn clung to the lead through most of the event, then Sunday survived a shaky 16th hole, his ball twice narrowly missing the water. He finished at 20-under 268.

Langer, trying to end a three-year title drought, shot 67. Carl Suneson was another shot back, at 272, after 71.

Ernie Els shot 66 to finish at 12-under 276. Greg Norman closed with 71 for a 282 total.

WORLD AMATEUR TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: The United States won its 11th title, beating defending champion Britain-Ireland by 16 strokes at Bad Saarow, Germany. The United States finished with a four-round score of 841.

Bryce Molder shot 4-under 68, the lowest round of the event, and won the individual title. Molder started the final round two strokes behind third-round leader Paul Casey of Britian. Casey shot 74.

SOLHEIM CUP: Captain Dale Reid filled out the 12-member European team with five captain's picks, four of them Swedes.

That raised the number of Swedes on the team to six.

Swedes Helen Alfredsson, Carin Koch, Liselotte Neumann and Catrin Nilsmark, and Janice Moodie of Scotland were Reid's choices.

The players who qualified on points were determined Saturday after the Chart Hills Classic in Biddenden, England. Sweden's Sophie Gustafson and English players Trish Johnson, Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas headed that list. Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, Patricia Meunier Lebouc of France and Raquel Carriedo of Spain also qualified on points.

The Solheim Cup is Oct. 6-8 at Loch Lomond near Glasgow, Scotland.

The American team, captained by Pat Bradley, will be finalized Sept. 24. Ten players will qualify on points. Bradley will select the other two.

- Information from SportsTicker was used in this report.

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