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Daniel Nearing a Major Record

June 09, 2002|From Associated Press

The LPGA Championship has produced career Grand Slams twice in the last three years, so DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., is no stranger to history.

With Beth Daniel in control, this could be one for the ages.

Daniel, a 45-year-old whose last victory was seven years ago, seized control Saturday with a three-under-par 68 that expanded her lead to four strokes and moved her one round closer to becoming the oldest woman to win a major.

Babe Zaharias was 42 years 11 months when she won the 1954 U.S. Women's Open.

"I think it would be a great story," Daniel said.

She gave herself the chance with a great round--six birdies on a course where the premium is par, the last birdie a 25-foot putt on the 18th hole that found the center of the cup and left Daniel smiling like a teenager.

"I'm making a lot of birdies, and that makes up for a lot of mistakes," said Daniel, who was at eight-under 205.

Se Ri Pak, who won the LPGA Championship for her first career victory in 1998, did well to keep within four strokes. The 24-year-old Korean had only one bogey in a round of 68, sticking to her plan of hitting fairways and greens.

"I didn't push anything," Pak said. "I had a great score."

Not much went right for Karrie Webb, who won the LPGA Championship last year to complete the career Grand Slam. She fought her swing most of the day and couldn't get enough putts to fall.

That kind of game is a recipe for disaster at DuPont this week, although Webb managed to scrape out a 72 and was at 211 along with Kim Saiki (69). They were the only players who remained under par.

*

Chris Smith needed 30 holes to take the third-round lead in the Buick Classic at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y.

Up at 4:30 a.m. for the completion of the second round, the long-hitting Smith had a two-putt birdie on the par-five 18th to break a tie with Loren Roberts and David Gossett.

"It's been a long day," said Smith, who finished off a three-under 69 in the morning and added a 67. "I don't get tired physically, but I could feel myself getting mentally tired the last three or four holes." "

The five-time Buy.com Tour winner was at 11-under 202 on the West Course at Westchester. Gossett and Roberts, neighbors in Germantown, Tenn., were a stroke back, and Pat Perez and Canadian Ian Leggatt followed at nine-under.

The 23-year-old Gossett, with sister Joni caddying, shot a 70, and Roberts, three weeks short of his 47th birthday, had a 71.

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