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Published: Saturday, 7/4/2009

Farr notebook: Gulbis dodges trouble to stay close

BY MAUREEN FULTON AND MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITERS
Sarah Kemp fired a 63, the lowest round of the day, to get in a share of the lead. Sarah Kemp fired a 63, the lowest round of the day, to get in a share of the lead.
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A narrow escape late in the second round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic allowed Natalie Gulbis to jump onto the leaderboard yesterday and possibly put herself in contention for the second win of her LPGA career.

Gulbis shot 32 on the front nine and had one of the better rounds of the day going and was 7-under par for the tournament when she hit a poor tee shot on the par-3, 184-yard No. 14 at Highland Meadows. She had to scramble to salvage a par and maintain the pace that would carry her to a 6-under 65 on the day.

"Those are the ones that definitely keep the momentum of the round going after you have completely messed up the hole," Gulbis said. "I had already botched the hole, and to make that putt and make par, that definitely keeps the momentum of the round going."

Gulbis entered the day 3-under par and in a 22-way tie for 26th place in the Farr, and she said that after par took a beating in the morning rounds, she expected to need a pretty low number to remain in contention when she teed off shortly before 1 p.m.

"The scores were pretty low, and everybody saw that when we came out for the practice session, so I knew we were going to have to shoot a good round in the sixties," she said.

Gulbis enters today's third round tied for fourth at 9-under par, two shots out of the lead.

MISSED CUT: The field for the final two rounds of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic was reduced to 83 players with the cut set after yesterday's play at two strokes under par. Former Farr champions Meg Mallon and Brandie Burton missed the cut. Burton shot 69-73 - 142 and was at even par, while Mallon shot 77-70 - 147, five over par. Also missing the cut were Michelle McGann, Laura Davies, and Carin Koch.

BIRDIE TIME: Seon Hwa Lee shot 63 yesterday, which along with Sarah Kemp's 63 is the low round of the tournament so far. Lee is in a tie for fourth place at 9-under par.

Lee, who has four LPGA tour victories under her belt, had a bogey-free day.

"I made birdie on the first hole, so that's always a good start," Lee said. "I didn't miss any fairways at all. I missed only one green today.

"I have a lot of confidence. I'm just looking forward to the weekend."

Kyeong Bae also made a big charge on the second day. Bae shot 64 to propel herself into a tie for seventh place along with six other golfers.

"I was struggling with my driver yesterday, but I practiced and tried to work on my swing a little bit," Bae said. "I hit my tee shot so much better. It made everything easier.

"I'm trusting my game and keeping a calm feeling."

CREAMER VISITS: Even after withdrawing from the Farr Classic on Thursday with an injured thumb, Paula Creamer couldn't quite bear to leave Toledo. Creamer, the defending Farr champion, decided to stick around yesterday to visit with fans and sign autographs.

"I feel like I owe it to my fans and to this tournament," Creamer said. "It was a smart decision to withdraw. Unfortunately, it was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make."

Creamer is now focusing on trying to get healthy enough to play in the U.S. Women's Open in Bethlehem, Pa., next week. On Thursday, she visited a doctor in Detroit to get a second opinion on her sore thumb. The injury is synovitis, or inflammation of the area around her joint. It's been bothering her since late May.

Creamer received a cortisone shot in her thumb joint Thursday and hopes rest will enable her to compete. She earlier received a shot in her tendon.

"[The doctor] thought by Monday I would not be feeling much pain, maybe a bit sore," Creamer said. "But definitely by Thursday, maybe as good as new."

LEWIS MISSES CUT: Stacy Lewis, the Toledo-born LPGA rookie, was 1-under par through two rounds at Highland Meadows and failed to make the cut. Lewis shot a 71 yesterday that included a double bogey on No. 18.

"It was another frustrating day," Lewis said. "I didn't hit it very well. I made a ton of putts, though, which was a good thing."

Despite the disappointment of the week, Lewis' rookie season is still going well. She has earned $169,944 this year.

"That's how golf is," Lewis said. "I'm putting it like I did last week. I'm just not hitting it like I did."

-Maureen Fulton

and Matt Markey



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