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LOS ANGELES WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP NOTEBOOK

El Nino Remains Big Water Hazard for Pro Golf Tours

February 15, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — The big story at the Los Angeles Women's Championship Saturday at Oakmont Country Club was, of course, the weather.

Play was suspended because of rain and the event was shortened to 36 holes with plans to finish today.

But what else is new?

Seems like weather has been the big story at every golf tournament in the country this year.

The PGA Tour's ATT National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach was suspended until August by rain. The Buick Invitational in La Jolla was shortened to 54 holes because of rain.

The LPGA had rain at its last tournament--the Office Depot tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla., Jan. 21-24. That tournament was scheduled to end on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, but the final round had to be played on Super Bowl Sunday because of the rain.

"At least the guys have been here too," said Michelle McGann, whose plans to attend the Super Bowl were spoiled by the suspension of the Office Depot. "It's not just a curse on us."

*

After LPGA Tour rookie Janice Moodie shot a two-under-par 70 and was tied for second after Friday's first round, a photographer went searching for Moodie with plans to snap a photo.

First stop, a crowded practice green where the photographer saw a caddie he thought might be able to identify Moodie.

The photographer asked, "Are any of these players Moodie?"

The caddie, misunderstanding the meaning of the question replied with a chuckle: "Yeah, all of them."

*

Moodie celebrated her first-round play by taking a tour of the freeways.

She and Mhairi McKay, another Scot, visited UCLA on Friday night, but had a little trouble finding their way there, then more problems finding their way back.

"We kept coming to freeways that said Ventura or Los Angeles, but none of them said North or South," Moodie said. "We didn't know which way to go."

Moodie said it took them 1 1/2 hours to make the 35-mile trip from Glendale and two hours to find their way home.

"Two Scots lost in L.A," Moodie said. "We could take that to Hollywood and make a movie."

*

The quality field, including 23 of the top 25 money winners from 1997, made news before the tournament. But a glance at the leaderboard shows none of the 23 within three shots of leader Hiromi Kobayashi.

"The weather does crazy things," said McGann, who was 12th on the 1997 money list but shot 76 in the first round on Friday and is seven strokes off the lead.

Because of the rain, McGann got to spend Valentines Day with her new sweetheart, Mark Reinschreiber--a 1983 graduate of Montclair Prep in Van Nuys and a producer for Fox Sports West.

They have been dating for three months.

"This weather is great," said Reinschreiber, who followed McGann in the rain for seven holes before play was suspended. "Now I get to spend more time with the greatest girl in the world."

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