Golf Roundup : Eagle on Final Hole Gives Blalock a One-Stroke Lead

From Times Wire Services

Jane Blalock came through with an eagle on the par-5, 440-yard 18th hole Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Pat Bradley after three rounds of the $300,000 Women's Kemper Open in Hawaii.

"I didn't realize how far I hit the drive on 18," she said after her round on the breezy 6,182-yard Royal Kaanapali North Course. "I hadn't really thought about an eagle. I just wanted to respond well to the pressure, and I felt I did that."

The 40-year-old Blalock, trying to win her first LPGA tournament since 1980, shot a one-under-par 72 for a total of 212. Bradley had a 75 for her 213.

Blalock started the day two strokes behind Bradley and fell four shots back after the first seven holes Saturday. However, a mental lapse by Bradley at the ninth hole led to a double bogey, and the players made the turn with two strokes separating them.

Bradley's problems continued early on the back nine as she got three bogeys between the 10th and 14th holes.

"The back nine was a struggle, and on previous days it was my make-up nine," Bradley said. "I played OK until the ninth, when I double-bogeyed from the front of the green. I don't know what happened. I must have gone to sleep.

"I was due for a struggling day in the wind, and today was it. I'm glad it was today and not tomorrow."

She closed out with birdies on the final two holes to inch back within a shot of the lead.

Patty Sheehan started the third round three strokes behind Bradley but struggled on the front nine and could not catch up. She wound up with a 76, enough to give her third place at 217.

Lauri Peterson, Alice Miller, Pat Rizzo and Barbara Thomas were at 218.

The third round of the USF&G; tournament at Lakewood Country Club in New Orleans was canceled because of rain, and officials said they planned to make it a 54-hole competition concluding with a full round today.

As the second round ended Friday, two of the PGA Tour's younger players shared first place, although a veteran had the better jokes.

Brett Upper, playing his second year on the tour, and Tony Sills, in his third year, were tied for the lead in the $400,000 tournament at 135, one stroke ahead of John Mahaffey and Gibby Gilbert.

Chi Chi Rodriguez, in his 25th year on the tour, was in a pack of seven at 139. "I'll never quit," Rodriguez said. "I want to earn a million dollars because I've already spent two million."

Friday's play started with the conclusion of the first round, which had been interrupted by rain and lightning Thursday. The second round began under heavy clouds but turned sunny as the day wore on.

"You can tell Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson are playing now--the wind has stopped and the sun has come out," Rodriguez said after finishing his round.

Nicklaus was at 140 going into today's third round, Watson at 142.

The cut for the final two rounds was even-par 144, with 79 players making it.

Two-time winner Gene Littler and South African Harold Henning shared the lead following the third round of the $300,000 Vintage Invitational seniors tournament at Indian Wells, Calif.

The leaders were at six-under-par 209. Henning birdied his final three holes for a 69 through wind and haze. Littler, who won the event in 1981 and 1983, also shot a 69.

Two strokes back were Arnold Palmer and Australia's Peter Thomson.

Halfway leaders Billy Johnston and Bob Rosburg faltered on the par-4 16th hole. Johnston had a 10 on the hole for a 78. Rosburg had an eight and also wound up with a 78.

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