VIENNA, Ohio, AP
In an ominous sign for the rest of the field at the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, South Korea’s Se Ri Pak shot a 5-under-par 67 to grab a share of the lead — and said she didn’t play very well. “I had sort of a problem,” Pak said after she caught Maggie Will and Marnie McGuire with a bogey-free round Friday. “A few holes I totally missed the drive. I didn’t expect that.” Pak, who won the 1998 Giant Eagle, said she intended to spend some extra time on the range working on her drives prior to the second round. If she gets that ironed out, she said her game would be in good shape. “It’s really going to be fun the next two days,” she said. Before the tournament even began, most of the field looked to Pak as the player to beat. In her last three appearances at the Giant Eagle, she has finished first, ninth and third. “She should buy a home here or ask to get a tax rebate from the state,” Will said. Other than Betsy King, Pak is the only other player in the field who has won on tour this year. Only eight of the top 25 players on the money list are entered. Leading money-winner Annika Sorenstam and No. 2 Karrie Webb both skipped the tournament to prepare for Monday night’s made-for-TV match with Tiger Woods and David Duval. Many other top players are preparing for next week’s British Open, now a major championship. “It’s not that strong of a field but there are some pretty good players here this week,” Pak said. “I can’t relax out there at all because there are a lot of good players behind me.” Pak, who is third on the money list and has already won three times this year, birdied three of the first four holes but battled her erratic driver the rest of the way. Even when she did overcome her problems off the tee, she twice missed birdie putts inside 3 meters (10 feet) and left an uphill 4.5 meter (15-foot) put for birdie on the lip on her last hole. McGuire, the New Zealander seeking her first LPGA win, birdied five of her first eight holes before playing the last 10 in even par. Will had four birdies and an eagle — holing a 5-iron from 134 meters (147 yards) on the par-4 10th — to get to 6 under through 13 holes. Back-to-back bogeys on an errant iron approach shot and a three-putt preceded a 4.5-meter (15-foot) birdie putt on the last hole. “I would hope that my 67 today would still be a good score today even if Tiger Woods was here — and the same goes for Karrie or Annika,” Will said. “Maybe one of these days when I take a week off the others will say, ‘It was a little easier since Maggie Will isn’t here.”’ Donna Andrews, Becky Iverson and Laurel Kean shot 68s. Leading the group at 3-under 69 was Jane Geddes, who ended her round in style. Finishing up on the 125-meter (137-yard) ninth hole, Geddes’ 8-iron cleared the pond in front of the green and landed 1.2 meters (4 feet) from the hole, bounced once and trickled into the cup for her third career ace. “What a great way to finish,” Geddes said. “What more can you ask for?” Defending champion Dorothy Delasin — whose victory over Pat Hurst on the second playoff hole made her the LPGA’s youngest winner in 25 years — also had a 69. “I’m happy with my game and hope to keep up the momentum,” said Delasin, who trails by half as many shots this year (three) as she did after the opening round a year ago.