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Bradley Is After Big Win : Seeking Grand Slam, She's the Favorite in Women's U.S. Open

July 09, 1986|Associated Press

KETTERING, Ohio — Pat Bradley goes for a third title on a never-accomplished Grand Slam this week in the 41st Women's U.S. Open golf championship.

"The way my year has been going, I wouldn't put it past me to have something like that happen," Bradley said after a practice round over the 6,243-yard, par 72 NCR Country Club course.

Her year has been outstanding.

The 35-year-old veteran has come into her own as the dominant figure in women's golf. Among her three victories this season are the Nabisco-Dinah Shore and the LPGA championship, the first two of the women's Big Four events.

She leads the LPGA Tour in money-winnings with $302,300, scoring average at 71.0, top 10 finishes, sub-par rounds and total birdies.

She is looking for even more.

"It's been a truly exciting year for me. I'm looking forward to continuing the year as successfully as I started it," she said.

That could produce some golfing history. She is already the only player to score a career sweep of the Big Four tournaments (Dinah Shore and LPGA this year, the 1981 U.S. Open and the 1985 duMaurier Classic) and needs a victory here to become the only player to ever hold all four titles simultaneously.

A victory in the championship that starts Thursday also would keep alive her hopes of a one-year sweep of the Grand Slam tournaments.

"I'll admit it's in the back of my mind. But it's not controlling me. It is not going to make or break my season if it does or does not happen," she said Tuesday.

But she would love to have it happen.

"It would be a wonderful accomplishment. I'm pleased just to be in this position, to have a chance at it. I'd love to have it happen.

"It's a very exciting thing. And I'm going to do my best to make it happen. I'm not going out with the idea that it's impossible, that it can't happen," Bradley said.

Her chief opposition appears to be Juli Inkster, who has come on strongly in recent weeks. She, too, has won three times this season--Kemper, McDonald's and Lady Keystone--and is second in money-winnings and stroke average.

Other major figures in the field of 153 that will be chasing $300,000 in prize money include Mary Beth Zimmerman and Patty Sheehan, each a two-time winner this season; Kathy Baker, the defending Open champion; three-time Open winner Hollis Stacy; Amy Alcott, a winner last week; and veterans Joanne Carner and Kathy Whitworth.

Nancy Lopez, the 1985 Player of the Year, gave birth to a daughter, Erinn Shea, on Memorial Day, has not yet returned to competition.

Janet Anderson, the 1982 Open champion, withdrew because of back problems.

Portions of the final two rounds Saturday and Sunday will be televised nationally by ABC.

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