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GOLF ROUNDUP

Davies Continues Her Assault on Par Fives

November 21, 1998| From Associated Press

Laura Davies, using her length off the tee on the holes where it counted most, continued her domination of the par fives Friday for a five-under 67 and a four-shot lead midway through the LPGA Tour Championship at Las Vegas.

Davies, who hasn't made anything worse than birdie on a par five in two days, had an eagle and three birdies on the long holes at the Desert Inn Country Club to move to 11 under after two rounds of the season-ending event.

"Obviously, if I keep driving it down the middle 280, 290, 300 yards on the par fives, it's going to make this game pretty easy for me," Davies said. "I'm playing the par fives like par fours."

Tina Barrett shot a 66 to move into second place, and Karrie Webb was another shot back after a 69. Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper were tied for fourth, seven shots behind.

Annika Sorenstam, looking to wrap up the player-of-the-year award, improved to a 71 but was 12 shots back, and rookie sensation Se Ri Pak shot a 77 that pretty much eliminated her chances of passing Sorenstam for player of the year.

In two rounds, Davies has three eagles and five birdies on the par fives. She is even par on the other holes.

Still, after a slump that has kept her winless on the LPGA Tour in 20 months, Davis wasn't quite ready to claim the $215,000 first prize.

"I'm not really that comfortable," she said. "Now I've got a bigger lead so there's more to blow. At what point I feel comfortable again, I don't really know."

*

In a vote by his golf peers, Mark O'Meara, at 41 the oldest man to ever win two majors in the same year, won the Jack Nicklaus Award over David Duval as the PGA Tour player of the year.

"Wow," he said upon accepting the award at St. Augustine, Fla. "I never would have dreamed that when I was 41 years of age I would be . . . accepting the player-of-the-year award. A lot of people probably would have thought that at the age I was, maybe it wasn't possible. It just goes to show you golf is a game for everyone."

O'Meara, who has agreed to a new deal with International Management Group, won the Masters in April and then the British Open at Royal Birkdale in July.

On the Senior PGA Tour, Hale Irwin made it a clean sweep after the greatest season ever on the 50-and-over circuit. Irwin also won the Nicklaus award, voted on by the players, as well as Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson awards for leading the money list and having the lowest scoring average.

Bob Burns was the Nike Tour player of the year.

The comeback-player-of-the year award went to Scott Verplank on the PGA Tour and Jim Colbert on the senior tour. Steve Flesch was named the PGA Tour's top rookie, and Joe Inman won that award for the seniors.

*

Nick Faldo stood firm while high winds and tough pin placements caused some dramatic crashes at the World Cup of Golf in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand.

Faldo shot a two-under 70, with two birdies and no bogeys, in the second round on the oceanside course to take the individual lead at six under and pull England into first place in the 32-nation event, along with teammate David Carter.

The U.S. team of John Daly and Scott Verplank plunged from the lead at 10 under after 10 holes to one over after 18, seven strokes behind England.

*

Jonathan Kaye's bogey-free eight-under 64 moved the former Nike Tour member into a two-shot lead after three rounds of the PGA Tour's final qualifying tournament at La Quinta.

Kaye, 28, from Phoenix, managed eight birdies on the La Quinta Resort Dunes Course to finish 54 holes of the 108-hole tournament at 16-under 200.

The top 35 players and ties at the end of Monday's play earn PGA Tour exemptions.

*

England's 18-year-old Justin Rose was 15 shots behind the leaders at Sotogrande, Spain, after the third round of qualifying for the 1999 European PGA Tour.

Of the 75 who qualify for the final two rounds Sunday and Monday, only the top 35 plus ties will earn tour cards.

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