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Andrews (66) Plays Through the Pain : Golf: She is tied with Monaghan after first round of LPGA event in San Diego.


SAN DIEGO — Shortly before her scheduled tee time Thursday morning in the first round of the Kyocera Inamori Classic, Donna Andrews doubted that she could play. Every time she swung a club, she gasped from the pain in her back.

A visit to the LPGA tour's fitness center for some liniment and a rubdown enabled Andrews to make her starting time.

And then, swinging a bit gingerly, Andrews shot a six-under-par 66 at Stardust Country Club to tie for the lead in the 72-hole event that winds up the regular season.

Andrews was the sole leader for nearly five hours until Kris Monaghan, one of the last to start, matched the 66 with a birdie on 17.

Andrews led a wholesale assault over the mostly flat, 6,200-yard Handlery Hotel layout. In the morning, before the greens crusted, 42 of the 71 players were at par or better.

There were several other serious challenges. Tied at 67 were Tina Barrett, Gail Graham and Stephanie Farwig. Laura Davies and Helen Alfredsson, the Swede who won the Nabisco Dinah Shore last spring, were at 68.

Altogether, there were 17 golfers who broke 70, but only six of them played in the afternoon. Forty-six of the 141 players were under par.

Barrett and Graham both started on the 10th hole and missed chances to tie on No. 9, a 410-yard par four. Barrett, playing before the wind came up, missed a six-footer for a birdie. Graham had a three-footer for par and missed.

"When you realize I didn't even think I could play 20 minutes before tee-off, I'm extremely happy," Andrews said.

"In a way it helped me. I knew I couldn't take a chance of over-swinging, so I kept my game under control. Among other things, I didn't have to worry about hitting the ball hard in the wind."

Andrews, who had a run recently in which she finished second, fourth and second, finally broke through with her first victory two weeks ago at Portland, Ore. It was her 95th tournament in a career that began in 1990.

"The best thing about winning is that nobody will ever again say, 'When are you ever going to win?' " the former North Carolina standout said.

Andrews headed immediately for more treatment for her chronic back problem.

"I played 27 holes last Tuesday at Seattle and that was too much," she said. "Right now it doesn't hurt, and if I can make it through this tournament I can take a rest."

Monaghan said she thought playing late was a handicap because of the wind and the beat-up greens. But she made two 30-foot putts and one of 25 feet and today will play early.

"That should help me," she said. "But sometimes you putt and sometimes you don't. Last Sunday, I was in the last group at Seattle and didn't sink a putt. I'd rather go early, though."

There is a battle being waged within the war, involving Patty Sheehan, Betsy King and Brandie Burton for the money title. Although this is the last regular event, a tournament in Japan and the World Championship tournament count in the earnings. Sheehan, at nearly $500,000, leads King by $16,000 and Burton by $18,000.

Sheehan, with the advantage of playing early, had a three-under 67. Burton and King played late and shot 72 and 73, respectively. Burton, who grew up in San Bernardino and is only 21, has won two of the last three tournaments she played. She will be among the early starters today.

Defending champion Judy Dickinson shot an opening-round 71, and longtime Southland star Amy Alcott soared to an 80 and will probably miss the cut.

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