SANTA BARBARA — The Ladies Professional Golf Assn. tour will be without its two biggest names when it returns to Santa Barbara this weekend for the first time since 1964.
Pat Bradley, the 1986 LPGA Player of the Year, is at home in Marco Island, Fla., taking a couple of weeks off until the tour moves on to St. Petersburg, Fla.
Nancy Lopez is in Baltimore, spending time with her husband, third baseman Ray Knight of the Baltimore Orioles, and trying to straighten out her game.
Lopez was scheduled to compete here, but after finishing in a tie for 33rd place two weeks ago at the Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament in Rancho Mirage, she indicated that she might withdraw.
"I'm going to work on my game until I get it right," she said. "You may not see me for a while. . . . Everything seems to be wrong. I'm hitting the ball too quick and I'm putting poorly."
That leaves the inaugural Santa Barbara Open with seven of the tour's top 10 money winners, including Betsy King, who won the Nabisco Dinah Shore and tops the money list at $162,432.
The 54-hole tournament, which begins today, will be played on two public courses, the 6,311-yard Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta and the 6,250-yard La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc.
The 143-woman field will be split between the two courses today and Saturday, with the low 70 qualifying for Sunday's final round, which will be played at Sandpiper.