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Notebook : Pulz's Putt Is Off Mark and Costs Her Two Strokes

March 09, 1985|MIKE PENNER and RICH ROBERTS | Times Staff Writers

Hard-Luck Story: Penny Pulz, a 12th-year pro from Melbourne, Australia, was one over par for the tournament, then took a two-stroke penalty on her second hole Friday.

Pulz, in a threesome with Nancy Lopez, had marked her ball a putter-head's length off line from Cindy Hill's putt, then later putted from there instead of returning the ball to its original position.

That put her three over par and suddenly out of contention.

"The score lady was the only one who noticed it," Pulz said. "I didn't think about it. My caddy didn't see it. It was crazy.

"It put me tentative and threw me off my positive (thinking) for 12 holes, then I got mad and was all right."

She finished with a 78 and made the cut with 150 for 36 holes.

First to Worst: The 10th hole, where the par was raised from four to five for this tournament, continued to take a beating Friday.

Statistics from Thursday's opening round showed that it's now the easiest par on the course. Instead of the tough 438-yard par-four it was from the intermediate tee last year, the women are shooting for par-five from the men's championship tee at 451.

Thursday it was the only hole where the average score was under par (4.868). There were 2 eagles, 40 birdies, 80 pars, 19 bogeys and 3 double-bogeys.

"I bogeyed the hole Thursday and felt like I'd double-bogeyed it," Nancy Lopez said. "It's not as tough (a par) now, but it's not a gimme-birdie, either."

She birdied it Friday in starting her round on the back nine.

Now the toughest hole may be No. 8, the 380-yard par-four where Bonnie Lauer got her eagle with a four-wood Thursday--the shot that put her on the lead.

Besides that eagle, the eighth yielded only 5 birdies and 48 pars but 79 bogeys, 10 double-bogeys and a triple-bogey.

Medical Update: A player took a detour to the Costa Mesa Medical Center for the second day in a row.

Caroline Gowan, a 23-year-old rookie from Greenville, S.C., withdrew after nine holes with back spasms and was taken away by ambulance.

"She hurt her back in the middle of her swing," a witness said.

A day earlier Juli Inkster, the LPGA's sixth-leading money winner in '84, had withdrawn after fainting in her room and injuring her nose. At first, nobody knew why she fainted.

"She just had that bad flu," her brother-in-law, Mike Inkster, said by phone from Northern California Friday. "She shouldn't have even tried to play."

Inkster and her husband Brian, a golf pro, still plan to go to Hawaii for next week's Women's Kemper Open.

In Other Action: Overlooked amid all the commotion about Jane Blalock's five-under round of 67 and the four-way tie for first place Friday were:

--Patti Rizzo's round of 67. Rizzo joined Blalock in shooting five under par, but her performance didn't have quite the same impact on the leader board. Rizzo began the day at five-over, so she begins the third round even for the tournament.

--Alexandra Reinhardt's eagle on No. 6. The shot momentarily moved Reinhardt in contention for the lead, until she dropped back into a tie for sixth with Lopez at 143.

--Bonnie Lauer's bogey on No. 11, when she made the best of a bad situation and retained a share of the lead. After bouncing a ball off a tree and into the water, Lauer could have fared much worse than a six on the par-5, 510-yard hole. "I was looking at a seven," said Lauer, who came back with an effective chip and a 10-foot putt. "There are some sixes that are good," Lauer said. "There aren't a lot of birdies on this course. The tournament can come down to the pars you save--or, sometimes, the bogeys you save."

It's The Thought That Counts: Patty Sheehan said she didn't know what to think when she walked away from the 13th green and heard a voice from the gallery shout, "C'mon Arnie, make your charge!"

Sheehan immediately made like Robert DeNiro in "Taxi Driver." Are you talking to me?

"I looked at the guy," Sheehan said, "and told him, 'I think you're at the wrong place.' "

Maybe something was lost in the translation. The comment was meant as a compliment, which Sheehan later acknowledged in the press interview tent.

"That comment was funny," Sheehan said. "It was so out of the blue. I didn't expect it.

"Actually, I'm flattered by it, but I don't know why he said that to me."

The spectator proved to be prescient, at any rate, as Sheehan proceeded to close her round in impressive Palmeresque fashion. She birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 15 and parred 16, 17 and 18 to finish the day at 70 and earn a fourth of the tournament leadership.

Now, Ray, If You Just Try Leaning Into the Pitch ... : Nancy Lopez went bogey-less Friday en route to a round of 70, largely due to some vastly improved putting. Lopez credited her success on the greens to advice from her husband, New York Mets third baseman Ray Knight, who phoned long distance Thursday night from training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"I used a secret method my husband told me," Lopez said. "Ray can really help me. He watched me play at all the Florida tournaments. He helps me get mentally sound, helps me concentrate."

Lopez said she discusses her golf game with Knight after every round she plays.

"I told him that I shot a 73 yesterday and he said, 'All right,' " Lopez said. "I wasn't too thrilled, because I missed two short putts. But he knows that I usually shoot like 76 in the first round, so he was encouraged."

Friday, Lopez's putting game was on. She did not three-putt a single hole.

So, apparently, Knight's advice did the trick.

What precisely did he suggest?

Lopez smiled. "I can't tell you," she said. "It's a secret ."

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