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Published: Tuesday, 7/8/2008

Fifth hole gets face-lift for this week's tourney

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST
Michelle Wie, who will likely have a big following this week, waits to hit a shot in the Mercy Health Partners Pro-Am. Michelle Wie, who will likely have a big following this week, waits to hit a shot in the Mercy Health Partners Pro-Am.
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A new tee at Highland Meadows Golf Club will change the complexion of the fifth hole for competitors in this week's Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

The hole formerly was a sweeping dogleg to the right, and big hitters had to hit a hard fade if they wanted to take advantage of their length.

The new tee is well left of the former box, near the 18th fairway, and the dogleg is now a very subtle one.

"Before, players basically hit to a distance, usually with fairway woods, and a draw was really hard to hit and place because of the trees on the right," said Highland Meadows head pro Nick Myers. "I think you have to hit a better tee shot now; you have to be more precise. But you can work it both ways off the tee, and longer hitters can force it up the right side a little better.

"It will put drivers back in the players' hands, and there will be a little more risk and reward with the tee shot."

Stacy Lewis, right, introduces herself to one of her playing partners, Megan McKernan, and her father, Dan, before the start of the Aquafi na Junior Girls Pro-Am yesterday. Stacy Lewis, right, introduces herself to one of her playing partners, Megan McKernan, and her father, Dan, before the start of the Aquafi na Junior Girls Pro-Am yesterday.
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The hole did not grow, at least from the tees the LPGA will use this week. The par-4 hole is still listed at 392 yards.

JUNIOR CHAMPS: Pro Danielle Downey and her four amateur partners - Alyssa Shimel, Rachel Brown, Mikayla Young, and Emily Mock - won the Aquafina Junior Girls Pro-Am yesterday afternoon at the Meadows with a 15-under 56 score.

Second place went to pro Erica Blasberg and her team (Megan Buckingham, Caroline Powers, Ashley Franks, and Lauren Volz) with a 58, while Stacy Lewis and her partners (Shannon Martin, Eileen Perry, Emily Bauer, and Megan McKernan) were third with a 61.

GOOD AS GOLD: The Farr Classic received the "Gold Driver Award of Excellence" at the 2008 meeting of the Tournament Owners' Association for its Aquafina Junior Pro-Am. The Farr is the only LPGA tournament that offers a pro-am opportunity for junior girls.

TWO ADVANCE: Amateur Mallory Blackwelder, a golfer at the University of Kentucky and the daughter of former LPGA Tour player Myra Blackwelder, won yesterday's Farr Classic qualifying tournament to earn a berth in the LPGA event that begins Thursday.

Myra Blackwelder played in the very first Farr Classic in 1984 at the old Glengarry Country Club and appeared in the local event a total of eight times, finishing as high as fifth.

Amy Yang, a tour rookie, snagged the other available berth in the qualifier at Sylvania Country Club.

The qualifier was a 16-hole event because of two unplayable holes due to recent flooding. Blackwelder carded a 60 for 16 holes, while Yang scored 61.

Yang, a native of South Korea, recently won the Ladies German Open on the European Tour with a 21-under total and donated her entire first-place check - more than $60,000 in U.S. dollars - to Chinese earthquake victims.

MERCY, MERCY: Teams headed by LPGA pros Barb Mucha and Anna Rawson captured top honors in yesterday morning's Mercy Health Partners Pro-Am at Highland Meadows.

Mucha's team (Dave Kielmeyer, Ed Hunter, Patricia Brown, and Jen Iliff) captured low net with a handicap adjusted score of 49.99.

Rawson, a tour rookie, and her amateur partners (Joe Glass, Michael Killian, Tom Lestrange, and Rich Waldron) scored low-gross honors with a 15-under 56.

PRO/CELEBRITY: The lineup for this afternoon's Image Group LPGA/Celebrity Challenge has been finalized. The six-hole event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at No. 10.

Group One will feature Jill McGill-Darius Rucker, Erica Blasberg-Dean Felber, and Stacy Lewis-Mark Bryan. The celebs are all members of the musical group Hootie and the Blowfish.

Group Two matches LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez with tournament host Jamie Farr, former Farr champion Heather Young with ex-UT great Chuck Ealey, and Julieta Granada with songwriter-actor Paul Williams.



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