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Published: Sunday, 7/15/2007

4 position themselves for first career victory

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Carri Wood blasts out of a trap on the fifth hole, where she got a double bogey, but she finished 1-under for the day. Carri Wood blasts out of a trap on the fifth hole, where she got a double bogey, but she finished 1-under for the day.
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Four players without LPGA tournament victories are in the hunt at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Carri Wood is the longtime pro who has been to qualifying school 13 times, with her best finish a tie for 12th at the 2005 Farr Classic. In-Kyung Kim is the upstart rookie who had seven consecutive birdies to start her round yesterday.

Alena Sharp and Linda Wessberg are in their first few years on the tour and are looking to make their mark.

All are in the top five at Highland Meadows Golf Club for the final round today. Kim is in third place, Sharp fourth, and Wood and Wessberg are tied for fifth with two others.

Sharp and Wood have each admitted to letting nerves affect them over the last few days. Sharp was in second place going into Friday's round and shot a 74. She came back with a 67 yesterday to go to 7-under for the tournament.

"My swing felt a lot looser [yesterday], [Friday] I was kind of nervous," Sharp said. "Today there was no pressure, I just wanted to go out and play well on the weekend."

Even with the gusty winds, Sharp hit 15 greens in regulation. She said she learned how to play through windy conditions in college at New Mexico State.

A 26-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., Sharp's best finish is a tie for 11th place earlier this year.

"My goal is to play well again [today]," Sharp said. "It's going to be one of my best finishes this year, and it's a great feeling."

Wood can count on one hand the number of times she's played in the second-to-last group on the weekend. She made a double bogey on the fifth hole but finished 1-under for the day to go to 6-under in the tourney.

"I had a rough start on the front but hung in there, was patient, and made some birdies coming in," Wood said. "If you had told me that I would have shot 1-under playing in the second to last group, I would have taken it."

Wood played with former Ohio State player Meg Mallon yesterday and fed off the underdog role.

"It's tough to fight off all those Ohio State Buckeye fans," Wood said. "I was outnumbered by a lot out there."

A bogey-free round propelled Wessberg, a 27-year-old from Sweden, to near the top of the pack. She had five birdies to card a 66 and move to 6-under.

"I've been playing good for a while, I just haven't gotten the scores down," Wessberg said. "Over here, you really need to shoot low scores to be able to play all four days."

Wessberg's best LPGA finish is ninth at the Corona Championship, but she has had some recent success overseas.

"I've been playing Europe for the last three weeks now, and I had one win and one second place over there," Wessberg said. "I'm just over for the week, really."

Se Ri Pak and Morgan Pressel are playing in the final group today, but a dazzling round from any of the players hoping for their first tour win could shake up the leaderboard - and open some eyes.

"I think it would be a surprise to everybody else and me," Wood said. "I would love to have that opportunity."

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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