Mallon leads US Open

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The Independent Online

There were no traffic jams on the Meg Mallon Detour. Pat Hurst and Beth Daniel were the only players Friday who followed Mallon's shortcut on the 14th hole, one of the trickiest on the course with a pond off the tee, a severe dogleg and a sandtrap at the bend.

There were no traffic jams on the Meg Mallon Detour. Pat Hurst and Beth Daniel were the only players Friday who followed Mallon's shortcut on the 14th hole, one of the trickiest on the course with a pond off the tee, a severe dogleg and a sandtrap at the bend.

Mallon hit her tee shot onto the 13th fairway Thursday and then went through a grove of trees to reach the 14th green.

"Nobody has the yardages. Unless somebody goes out there and gets the yardages, they're not going to play it that way," Daniel said. "As far as I know, there are only three of us in the field that have the yardages from over there. And the only reason we have them is Pat and I played a practice round with Meg."

Even Mallon played the 14th the traditional way Friday. The pin was on the front, right side of the green, making it tougher to play from the 13th. And when the wind shifted in the afternoon, it made the water less of a threat. Mallon, who came up with the detour because she'd landed in the water and the bunker during practice rounds, almost got in trouble when her ball skirted the edge of the fairway and headed for the pond. But it stopped in the short rough, and she put her second shot on the green.

"It was totally the pin placement, and a little bit of direction of the wind," Mallon said of why she played it straight. "Off the tee shot, going the conventional way, the bunker was out of play today. And because the pin was on the right side, there was little green to work with coming in from the other direction. "So I just decided that's the best. Now the pin is back left tomorrow, so I'll probably more than likely go over 13."



Naree Wongluekiet caught up to her twin sister. The 14-year-old shot a 4-over 76 on Friday to make her first cut at a major tournament with a 6-over 150 total. Wongluekiet and her sister, Aree, played the Nabisco Championship, but Naree missed the cut.

Aree made the cut and finished in a tie for 10th. She isn't playing in the Women's Open.

"It's my first U.S. Open, so that's pretty special," Naree said. "To have a chance to make the cut is pretty nice."

The golf world has been watching the Wongluekiets (pronounced Wahn-gloo-KEE-it) since their nine victories and 18 top-five finishes in a combined 23 junior tournaments over the last six months of 1999.

The results were particularly impressive considering the two girls weren't old enough to compete in major junior events until May 1, 1999, when they turned 13.



Dottie Pepper withdrew after seven holes on Friday morning because of a back injury. Pepper, who was hampered by back spasms when she finished second at the Nabisco Championship in March, noticed some back pain on Tuesday morning, but she played her round on Thursday and even hit balls for about an hour afterward. The pain flared up again on Friday morning, about a half-hour before her tee time. Pepper decided to play, but withdrew after hitting her tee shot on her eighth hole.

"She wanted to go out and give it a try," said Connie Wilson, an LPGA spokeswoman. "The more she played, the worse and worse she got."

Pepper, a two-time Nabisco champion, was three over Friday, including a double-bogey on No. 16, the last hole she played. She shot a 4-over 76 on Thursday.



The only thing rarer than a sub-par round is a speedy one. With players hacking their way through rough and taking their time reading the tricky greens, play at the U.S. Women's Open was so slow on Friday morning that afternoon tee times were pushed back 30 minutes. Most of the morning rounds took about 5½ hours to play.

"When you have 156 people on the field and you have tough conditions on a tough golf course and a lot of these people have qualified and this sometimes is their only tournament they play in all year, you just have to expect it," Karrie Webb said.

"Anything less than five hours in the first two days is just a bonus." Webb and her playing partner, Kelly Robbins, got even more backed up than other groups after Pepper dropped out.

"We were waiting on pretty much every shot, especially on our back nine," Webb said. "We were waiting on the tee shots as well as on the fairway."



Cristie Kerr's practice after the first round paid off. Kerr eagled the par-4 15th on Friday in the second round, holing a shot from 162 yards out. She finished the day at 1-under 71, giving her a 1-under 143 total.

"I have not had an eagle in a while, and to have one at the Open is really special," Kerr said. Kerr wasn't happy with her shots into the wind after Thursday's round, so she went out and worked on hitting the ball lower.

"I just tried to feel like my body was moving through the ball better and just tried to lower it a little bit, and that helped a little bit in the wind today," she said. "Definitely helped on 15 because I hit it great. "You practice all those shots to hit that one kind of shot. And to hit one in the Open was great."

Scores after the second round of the $2.8 U.S. Women's Open, played on the 6,540-yard (5951.4-meter), par-72 Merit Club (a-denotes amateur).

Meg Mallon 68-72-140 Betsy King 71-70-141 Karrie Webb 69-72-141 Cristie Kerr 72-71-143 Juli Inkster 70-74-144 Dorothy Delasin 76-68-144 Laura Davies 73-71-144 Rosie Jones 73-71-144 Shani Waugh 69-75-144 Kathryn Marshall 72-72-144 Lorie Kane 71-74-145 Joanne Morley 73-72-145 Silvia Cavalleri 72-73-145 Pat Hurst 73-72-145 Kelli Kuehne 71-74-145 Beth Daniel 71-74-145 Danielle Ammaccapane 72-73-145 Fiona Pike 72-74-146 Wendy Doolan 77-69-146 Grace Park 74-72-146 Mi Hyun Kim 74-72-146 Kate Golden 75-72-147 Jan Stephenson 73-74-147 Kelly Robbins 74-73-147 Jenny Lidback 73-74-147 Donna Andrews 73-75-148 Kellee Booth 70-78-148 Kristi Albers 71-77-148 Michele Redman 74-74-148 Carin Koch 75-73-148 a-Hilary Homeyer 73-75-148 Annika Sorenstam 73-75-148 Jackie Gallagher-Smith 71-77-148 Emilee Klein 77-72-149 Charlotta Sorenstam 75-74-149 Mary Beth Zimmerman 77-72-149 Anna Macosko 73-76-149 Jean Zedlitz 73-76-149 Barbara Mucha 74-75-149 Marisa Baena 73-76-149 Catriona Matthew 74-75-149 Se Ri Pak 74-75-149 Hiromi Kobayashi 77-72-149 Michelle Ellis 76-74-150 Michelle McGann 77-73-150 Nancy Scranton 80-70-150 Jennifer Rosales 75-75-150 a-Jae Jean Ro 74-76-150 Leta Lindley 73-77-150 Carri Wood 73-77-150 Sophie Gustafson 72-78-150 Valerie Skinner 74-76-150 A. J. Eathorne 73-77-150 Tina Barrett 72-78-150 Jill McGill 73-77-150 Sara Sanders 72-78-150 Nancy Lopez 76-74-150 Pearl Sinn 74-76-150 Janice Moodie 73-77-150 a-Naree Wongluekiet 74-76-150

Failed to qualify

Mhairi McKay 80-71-151 Diane Barnard 78-73-151 Amy Fruhwirth 79-72-151 Sherri Steinhauer 72-81-153 Cindy Figg-Currier 77-76-153 Patty Sheehan 76-77-153 Rachel Hetherington 78-75-153 Brandie Burton 78-76-154 Chris Johnson 80-75-155 Maria Hjorth 77-78-155 Alison Nicholas 74-81-155 Mardi Lunn 77-79-156 Liselotte Neumann 80-76-156 Becky Iverson 77-79-156 Cindy McCurdy 77-80-157 Akiko Fukushima 76-81-157 Helen Dobson 76-81-157 Gloria Park 81-79-160 Pat Bradley 75-86-161 Helen Alfredsson 78-83-161 Dottie Pepper 76-WD