Miller, Sheehan Have Up-and-Down Day : Former Leaders Can Only Tread Water While Lauer Keeps Rolling

Times Staff Writer

Alice Miller and Patty Sheehan described their third-round efforts Saturday in the $330,000 LPGA Uniden Invitational in nondescript terms.

"It was just an up-and-down day. Nothing to write home about," Miller said after shooting even-par 72 to put her four shots behind leader Bonnie Lauer. "There just wasn't anything memorable about the round."

Sheehan agreed.

"It was just one of those days," she said after her 73 left her five shots behind Lauer.

Miller and Sheehan had their chances to get closer to Lauer, but their aggressive play didn't help.

Miller, a three-time winner since joining the tour in 1978, started the day tied for the lead with Jane Blalock, Sheehan and Lauer. She said her plan was to play the par 5s well, which she did, but then a couple of bad drives and the water hazard on No. 10 pulled her down.

She birdied three of the five par-5 holes at the Mesa Verde Country Club course, but combined that effort with four bogeys. She said she didn't think even-par would be that bad a score . . . until she saw Lauer's 68.

Miller birdied the first hole, a par 5, by sinking an 18-footer, but then gave the shot back on the par-3 third hole when she took three putts from 35 feet.

A four-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fourth hole put her in contention again until she bogeyed No. 9 and knocked her tee shot into the water on No. 10, resulting in another bogey that dropped her to two-under.

Miller carded a birdie on 11th hole when she canned a 15-foot putt then moved to four-under when she tapped in a six-incher on the 16th. But once again, she dropped a stroke on No. 17.

"It was just getting frustrating trying to make up the ground," Miller said. "The bogeys on 9 and 10 really knocked me out though."

Sheehan, who is the leading money winner this season on the Ladies Professional Golf Assn. tour with more than $60,000, said Saturday was an uncharacteristic day for her.

"Nothing much happened out there," she said after carding 15 pars. "I didn't make any putts and I had trouble clubbing myself. I hit it close on 10, 11 and 12 but came away with only one birdie. That seemed to take the wind out of my sails."

Sheehan, playing in the last threesome with Blalock and Miller, observed that while Lauer went further under par, her group was stagnant.

"We were just treading water out there," she said. "Nobody was getting anywhere. I thought I was playing aggressively, but nothing was working. Shots I thought were at the stick turned out to be short."

Today, though, will be different. Sheehan and Miller will be playing with Lauer in the last group.

"It'll be nice to play in the last group," Sheehan said. "I'll be able to see what's happening close up and see the mood of the other golfers.

"You never know what's going to happen on the last day. Something can jump up and take the day away from you."

Sheehan should know, she won the 1983 LPGA Championship in Cincinnati when she trailed by seven shots entering the final round.

She shot a 66 then. A repeat today would tie the Mesa Verde course record--and perhaps make things a bit interesting.

"Fortunately," Sheehan said, "there is a tomorrow. There have been quite a few low scores so far, which is uncharacteristic for this course. Hopefully, I can have one of those good rounds tomorrow."

Said Miller: "We've had some 67s, some 68s here, so there's always a possibility. I sure would like to have a four-shot lead and let the field come and catch me, but no one will roll over and play dead."

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