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Published: 7/15/2002

Australian rules, mate

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Rachel Teske holds the trophy as she accepts a big check - for $150,000 - from Jamie Farr. Part of her earnings will go toward the extra plane fare she incurred because of a travel snafu. Rachel Teske holds the trophy as she accepts a big check - for $150,000 - from Jamie Farr. Part of her earnings will go toward the extra plane fare she incurred because of a travel snafu.
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No worries, mate, for Rachel Teske.

The Australian lost a bet to countrywoman Karrie Webb not too long ago over a rugby match and it will cost her dinner.

But not a cheap one.

“I'll wait for a couple weeks until we're in New York City to collect,” Webb said.

Teske can well afford to pick up the tab after collecting a $150,000 check yesterday, the first prize in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.

Teske, who lost to Annika Sorenstam in a playoff at the 2000 Farr, rolled to a final-round 66 and a two-shot win over rookie Beth Bauer at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

“I played well here a couple of years ago, but it's always disappointing when you have a chance to win and you don't,” the 30-year-old Teske said. “I wanted to do one better this time. I just wanted to keep hitting solid shots and making birdies.”

No worries, mate. She made seven of them and it was more than enough to offset a couple of mid-round bogeys.

Not that birdies were all that rare yesterday.

Danielle Ammaccapane tied an LPGA and Farr Classic record for a low-nine score with a 28 on the front and finished with a 9-under 62, just one shot off the course record.

Tracy Hanson had a 63, Michelle Ellis a 64 and there were a pair of 65s turned in by Natalie Gulbis and Mhairi McKay.

On a hot, windless day made to order for good scoring, the 77-player field averaged a sub-par score of 69.7.

It would be a lot easier to tell you who didn't break par. Of the top 33 on the leaderboard, only one golfer failed to at least match par of 71.

But with Teske going low after entering the day just one stroke out of the lead, nobody else had a chance.

Not Bauer, the tour's top rookie, who couldn't get a putt to drop over the last six holes and carded a 2-under 69.

Not Webb, who stumbled early in a bid for her 28th LPGA title and had to settle for a 70 and a third-place tie with Laura Diaz at 11-under 273.

Not even Se Ri Pak, the three-time Farr champion who has authored rounds of 61 and 62 in past years. This time, the Korean finished with a 68, good for a seventh-place tie at 9-under 275.

Amy Fruhwirth, who closed with a 66, and Kelli Kuehne (68) finished in a tie for fifth at 10-under. Pak was another shot back in a tie with Ammaccapane, Gulbis and McKay.

After a birdie at No. 12 that pulled her back into a tie for the lead, Bauer hit every green down the stretch in regulation and saw putt after putt burn the edges of the cups.

“I kept hitting it close and I was easily within 20 feet on every hole,” Bauer said. “I had a lot of opportunities to win, but they just didn't fall. I needed to make a few more birdies, but it just wasn't meant to be.

“I played great golf and I feel great. This is definitely the highlight of my career, so far. It was a first-time experience for me, but I don't think I gave away the tournament. I was solid. Rachel just played better.”

Playing in the next-to-last group, Teske got to 12-under early, but was temporarily stalled by three-putt bogeys at Nos. 8 and 10.

But she answered with consecutive birdies at Nos. 11 and 12 to claw back into a tie for the lead, then left the field in her wake with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes.

“I hit the ball solid, sure, but I don't think I've ever putted as well as I did today,” Teske said.

The champion, who was playing under her maiden name of Hetherington when she lost to Sorrenstam in the 2000 Farr playoff, landed in just nine of 14 fairways yesterday, but recovered to hit 16 greens in regulation.

“And I was rolling in putts from everywhere,” she said. “I was disappointed when I bogeyed those two holes with three-putts because I thought I'd hit good shots in. What happened was that I was probably thinking too much about making them and not thinking enough about the pace.

“I didn't let those bogeys ruin my round, though. I knew I was putting well. I just had to find the pace again.”

No worries, mate. She made four birdie putts down the stretch, none shorter than 10 feet in length.

Teske almost didn't play in the Farr. After missing a flight out of Tampa on Tuesday night, she was forced to pay an additional $700 to get a Wednesday-morning flight out of Orlando. She arrived at Highland Meadows just 30 minutes before her pro-am tee time.

Based on LPGA rules, had she missed that tee time without notifying tour officials in advance she would have been disqualified from the 72-hole tournament that began the next day.

“I wasn't too happy about spending another $700 on tickets,” said Teske, who is known on tour for being frugal.

“But I'm pretty happy about it now.”



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