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WOMEN'S GOLF / LPGA AT SAN DIEGO : Monaghan Is Pleased by Omen


SAN DIEGO — With only one victory in nine years on the LPGA tour, Kris Monaghan is looking for about anything that might get her a second.

Playing in the same tournament--the Kyocera Inamori--she won in 1990 over at StoneRidge Country Club might help. But the slightly superstitious Monaghan thinks she might have found an omen on the last hole of her second round Friday at the Stardust Country Club.

Monaghan retained her share of the lead after 36 holes by shooting a three-under-par 69 for 135, nine under. She is tied with Canadian Gail Graham, who had a second-round 68, and Patty Sheehan, who played under the worst conditions late in the day but posted the best round, a 66, and continued her pursuit of the money title.

Those three were two shots ahead of Juli Inkster, who had 68 for 137. Laurie Davies and first-round co-leader Donna Andrews are another shot behind. Defending champion Judy Dickinson and tournament favorite Brandie Burton are in a group at 141, three behind.

"I was struggling on the front nine, my back nine," Monaghan said. "And it only seemed to get worse on the tough par-four last hole. I hit a short drive and had a four-iron 180 yards to the green. I pulled it into the water. I had about a 30-foot chip and sank it. Maybe, I thought, it's my turning point. At least, it has me all excited going into the last two rounds."

After almost quitting the tour last year, Monaghan has come back for her best year, with $156,000 in earnings and six consecutive top-10 finishes since Aug. 1.

Graham, a nonwinner in her fourth LPGA season, can't afford to get excited. She jammed her left wrist when her wedge struck a drain at Seattle last week.

She missed the cut two weeks in a row and gives the sore wrist some of the credit for the turnaround here.

"I've been taking treatments and it helps," she said. "But I have to be careful about swinging too hard."

It might take more than an omen and a careful swing to derail Sheehan, the most recent addition to the women's golf Hall of Fame. With all of her honors and the No. 3 spot on the all-time money list, Sheehan has never won the money title.

Her brilliant round further distanced her from her pursuers, Burton and Betsy King, who is at 143. A victory here, with only two more events this year, would put Sheehan in command.

When the two other leaders began, the greens were fresh and there wasn't a whisper of a breeze. Four hours later, the wind was up and the greens were rough.

"You prepare yourself for the wind," Sheehan said. "Fortunately, the wind here has been constant. It comes up every afternoon and blows from the same direction. It didn't bother me today. I only missed two greens, had no bogeys and six birdies.

"I feel pretty good after coming back from four weeks off last month after making the Hall of Fame and all that goes with it left me drained."

The cut was 146 and ties.

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