Golf fans flock to the first hole during the third round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. Thousands who turned out watched as Karen Stupples, winner of last week's Women's British Open, took the lead going into today's final round of the local tournament.
Se Ri Pak will have to rally from five shots behind in today's final round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic if she is to grab a slice of LPGA history.
Pak is bidding to become just the second woman ever to win the same LPGA event five times.
Hall of Famer Mickey Wright holds the record, having won the Sea Island (Ga.) Open in 1957-58, 1960-61, and 1963.
"I'm still in it, but it won't be easy this time," Pak said after a second straight round of 72 that left her at 3-under 210, five shots behind leader Karen Stupples. "But I shot 10-under before on this golf course, so who knows?"
Pak fired back-to-back rounds of 61-63 at Highland Meadows when she captured the first of her four Farr titles in 1998.
"It's funny. I feel so much confidence on these greens and I hit it close so many times, but I just couldn't make anything. I couldn't get any momentum. Hopefully, I can make a lot of putts tomorrow and have a chance."
Pak needed 33 putts yesterday and has needed a rather robust 92 putts to navigate the first 54 holes.
WHAT ROUGH?: Jeong Jang of Korea finished fifth in the 2000 Farr Classic and would like to do better this time. She enters today's final round tied for third at 4-under 209.
Jang is little more than 5-foot tall and counters a lack of distance with uncanny accuracy.
When asked yesterday about the long rough, she could honestly answer that she hadn't seen much of it.
Jang hit 14 of 14 fairways yesterday and has landed in 39 of 42 fairways (not including par-3s) through three rounds.
"These fairways are very tight and the greens are small, so that's good for me and how I play," she said after a 3-under 68. "The first day I played OK, second day was better, today was really good, so maybe tomorrow will be very, very good."
GETTING EVEN: Deb Richard holed a shot from the left greenside bunker at No. 7 yesterday and said, "Take that, hole."
Richard scored bogeys at the 575-yard, par-5 during each of the first two rounds when the hole was playing into a stiff wind.
"There was no wind when we went through today and it was quite a relief," Richard said.
She was just as thrilled with a wedge shot from 110 yards into the 18th green that allowed her to scramble for par to cap off a round of 67.
"I needed that to keep a bogey-free round," she said. "Those are always very satisfying."
Richard, who owns three top-four Farr finishes, including a sudden-death playoff loss to Alice Miller in 1991, opened this year's tournament with a 2-under 69 and maintained that score through her first nine holes on Friday before playing the front side at the Meadows in 5-over.
"I just didn't finish; I played my last five holes in 4-over," she said. "I wasn't swinging well and it caught up with me. Other than that, I'm holding my own."
ON A ROLL: Nancy Scranton may not be knocking down the pins - she has hit just 55 percent of the greens in regulation - but she's been uncanny on the greens. She needed just 23 and 24 putts during the first two rounds and has putted just 77 times in 54 holes.
That solid putting has her tied for fifth at 3-under 210, five shots out of the lead.
"The greens are getting firm and it's tough to get it close, but my putter has been working," she said. "Someone always seems to have a hot round here, so I know I'm not out of it."
ROSALES QUITS: Jennifer Rosales has been fighting a wrist injury, so when she reached the greenside bunker at No. 5 yesterday and saw her ball buried under the lip, discretion proved to be the better part of valor.
Instead of attempting to hit the shot and risking further injury, Rosales picked up her ball and withdrew from the tournament, according to LPGA officials.
BIG HITTER: Marilyn Lovander will likely be hitting first off most fairways during her final-round pairing today with Karen Stupples.
Yesterday, Stupples had her drive on the 16th hole measured at 279 yards, 12 yards longer than any other player in the field. Stupples, the 54-hole leader at 8-under, is averaging 263 yards this week on measured holes. By contrast, Lovander, who enters today's final round in second place, is averaging 228.3 yards.
KLEIN BOUNCES BACK: Three rounds into the Farr Classic Emilee Klein has seen the best and worst and then best again of her game in a see-saw performance.
After an opening-round 3-under 68 had her among the leaders Thursday, she came unraveled on the way to a 5-over 76 on Friday.
But yesterday she used a hot putter to move back upward and closer to contention entering today's final round at Highland Meadows. Her 67 left her tied for 12th, six shots behind Stupples.
"I just putted really well today," said Klein, who sank birdie putts on holes No. 2, 6, 10, 13, and 17 while carding her lone bogey of the day on the par-4 16th. "I've been working very hard on [putting] and it just kind of came together. My short game was good. I hit a lot of good shots. I just played very steady and got up and down when I needed to."
KANE ON HER GAME: Lorie Kane missed some putts she felt she should have made, but yesterday she made some long ones that you can't normally count on.
It all added up a 4-under-par 67, which equaled the best score of the day and put Kane at 3-under for the tournament, within striking range of the top money.
"The first couple of days I left a few putts here and there out there, but today I made the ones I needed to make," said Kane, whose best finish here at Highland Meadows was a tie for seventh in 1998, the year Pak won the Farr going away with her record 23-under total of 261.
"You need to birdie the par-5s, and I didn't birdie 17," said Kane, lamenting one of her missed opportunities. "I was probably 30 yards from the hole [after second shot]. So, when you make 5 it's kind of a sour moment. But, when you turn around and birdie 18, you feel like it's a good finish and look forward to a good start [today]."
Four of Kane's five successful birdie putts came from 12 to 25 feet.
NO HARM, NO FOUL: Leta Lindley didn't gain on the leaders yesterday, but because she battled the course conditions so well, she didn't lose much ground either.
Her even-par 71 kept her in a tie for fifth place, five shots behind Stupples.
"It was a tough day today," Lindley said. "Gusty. The greens were firming up, but even-par is like no harm, no foul.
"Hopefully I can pull together [today] and make a few more birdies and get rid of my bogeys. I don't know that I had a whole lot of opportunities. It was really tough to get the ball close to the hole as firm as the greens were."
GIMME SOME WATER: "The greens were rock hard today," said Brandie Burton, whose 3-over 74 pushed her from one shot out of the lead after two rounds to five shots back today.
"I couldn't hold anything on the greens," she said. "I don't know what happened, did the sprinklers break or something last night?
"It played tough. It was tough to get the ball close to the pin. And I didn't drive it too well either. When you don't drive it well, it's really hard to get close to the pin."
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Il-Mi Chung, an LPGA rookie from Korea, arrived in Toledo a week earlier than other contestants and has been taking instruction from Highland Meadows head pro Nick Myers.
"We just started talking and I guess she liked what I had to say," Myers said. "One thing led to another."
Myers has been teaching Chung how to hit a cut shot to replace the draw she has been hitting off the tee.
"She sees it better and likes the way it comes off the club," Myers said.
Chung, 32, was a member of the Korean National Team for five years and won the Korean Ladies Open in 1993.
"She was one of her country's best players for many years before deciding to give the LPGA a try," Myers said.
"She missed the cut here by two shots, but I think she's going to stick around a few days and we'll keep working."