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Golf briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000

DiMarco poised for first tour win

PAOLI, Pa. -- Chris DiMarco is taking an aggressive approach into unfamiliar territory.

DiMarco, who has never won a PGA Tour event or even led one after three rounds, had a three-stroke lead entering the final round of the inaugural Pennsylvania Classic.

"I'm certainly going to have a lot of pressure on me," DiMarco said. "I've never won. I'm going to be in a situation where everybody is going to be looking at me and trying to catch me, and I've never been there before. If I shoot 66 or 67, I'm going to win. I need to take care of me and not worry about anybody else."

DiMarco shot 5-under-par 66 in chilly and windy weather Saturday to lead a second-place grouping of Frank Lickliter, Loren Roberts and Mark Calcavecchia in the first PGA Tour event in Pennsylvania in 20 years.

DiMarco had six birdies and one bogey for 12-under 201 in the difficult conditions at Waynesborough Country Club. He took the lead with a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 14 as Lickliter got his first bogey of the tournament on the same hole.

"I'm hitting the ball really good, driving it good, hitting my irons extremely solid and I'm making a lot of putts," DiMarco said. "I'm just going to try to get a seven- or eight-shot lead, just push it ahead."

DiMarco's biggest shot of the day was a 5-foot putt for par after hitting his drive into the trees on No. 9, the toughest hole of the course.

Roberts shot his best round of the tournament, 66, to move from 10th to second at 204. He overcame three bogeys with eight birdies. Lickliter, the co-leader after two rounds, had 70. Calcavecchia, who shared the lead with Lickliter after two rounds, fell back after bogeys on No. 6 and No. 7. He birdied No. 18 to finish with 70.

DiMarco, who didn't make the cut last week at the Canadian Open, has two second-place finishes this year.

"Spot me three tomorrow, I like that," he said.

KROGER SENIOR CLASSIC: Larry Nelson birdied four of the final five holes to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Gil Morgan after the second round at Mason, Ohio.

Nelson, who shot 58 during Thursday's pro-am, bogeyed the 15th, but rebounded for three straight birdies to finish with 64, the lowest score of the tournament, and a 134 total.

"Shooting a 64 today was a lot harder than a 58 Thursday because of the conditions," said Nelson, who started the second round at par. "It was a lot more of a thinking round today."

The same holes where Nelson made his move caused Morgan trouble as he bogeyed three of the final five. He blamed the course for his struggles.

"I really think they let the golf course get away from them today," he said. "It was inconsistent in terms of the firmness. And I wasn't playing well on top of that."

Hubert Green, whose par round put him in third place at 4 under, two back of Nelson, had different thoughts.

"This is the first time this year we've had a course that has played fast and firm," Green said. "It was very fair. I loved it."

LANCOME TROPHY: Germany's Alex Cejka, once a rising star on the European tour, shot 5-under-par 66 to take a two-stroke lead after three rounds of this $1.2-million European PGA event at Saint Nom La Breteche, France.

"I've struggled with my game for two or three years," said Cejka, who had three victories in 1995 before fading. "Now all the practice is beginning to show some results."

Cejka was at 11-under 202. Next at 204 were Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke (67), Scotland's Dean Robertson (70) and Stephen Gallacher (67), and South Africa's Retief Goosen (64).

Second-round leader Nick O'Hern of Australia shot 72 and was at 205 with Michael Campbell of New Zealand (65). Masters champion Vijay Singh of Fiji (68) was tied with two others at 207, and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland (68) was at 209.

ANA OPEN: Japan PGA champion Nobuhito Sato shot par 72 in swirling winds and built a two-shot lead over American Christian Pena going into the final round at Kitahiroshima, Japan. Sato, the top money-winner on the Japan tour, was at 8-under-par 208.

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