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GOLF DINAH SHORE TOURNAMENT : Alcott’s Lead Goes to Seven Shots on 68

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Amy Alcott is on the verge of lapping the field in the Nabisco Dinah Shore golf tournament at the Mission Hills Country Club.

She has a seven-stroke lead going in today’s final round. So it would seem advisable for her to play it safe, make routine pars and win, if not spectacularly.

But that’s not Alcott’s style.

“If I play to the middle of the greens and try to two-putt for pars, I’ll make bogeys,” she said. “I’m going to stick to my game plan, which is being aggressive.”

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Alcott said that when she won this tournament in 1983--she also won in 1988--she had a one shot lead going to the par-five, 18th hole with the wind whipping the course at an estimated 50 miles per hour.

“I hit into the rough and hacked a seven-wood out and I left myself 190 yards to the pin,” Alcott recalled.

Her caddie advised her to play it safe and lay up with water guarding the green, saying she could still win, or, at least, get into a playoff.

“I told him I played 71 holes to get where I am right now and I’m going to take a three-iron and just jump all over it and hit the greatest shot I can hit,” Alcott said. “Whether I knock it in the water to lose the tournament by one, it all comes down to this one shot.

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“I want win a like a champion, or otherwise I don’t want to win.”

She said she hit one of her best shots ever and two-putted to win the tournament by two shots.

Alcott shot a four-under-par 68 Saturday for a 54-total of 205, 11 under. Her closest pursuers are Tammie Green, Martha Nause, Patty Sheehan and Dottie Mochrie, all at 212.

The only suspense that remains is whether Alcott will keep her promise and jump into the lake near the 18th green if she wins.

She did it in 1988 and has vowed this year to take Dinah Shore in with her. Alcott said Dinah told her that she would be willing.

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do,” Alcott said.

Sheehan said that she hopes Alcott will do something different.

“That’s old (jumping into a lake),” Sheehan said. “She (Alcott) will probably sit up tonight thinking of something else.”

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However, Sheehan is not conceding the tournament to Alcott.

“Anything can happen tomorrow. You can’t think you’re out of it,” Sheehan said. “When you’ve got a hot putter, you can make a whole bucketful of putts. A lot of people could shoot low numbers.”

Nonetheless, it is Alcott’s tournament to lose and the way she is playing, it is unlikely she will squander a seven-shot lead.

If she shoots another 68, she will break the 72-hole tournament record of 274 that she set in 1988. It would give her 29 career victories, one shy of admittance to the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Alcott says she has won tournaments before with large leads, including the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open by nine shots.

“I like being in front. It’s an adventure,” she said. “Win, lose, or draw, for me it has been fun. What I enjoy most is hitting great golf shots.”

Considering the almost perfect weather, it has been surprising that the scores aren’t lower. Even Alcott expected that someone would have shot a 65 by now.

What does Alcott think about with such a commanding lead?

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“I’m probably one of the major space cases that you’ve ever known,” she said. “The golf course is my sanctuary. I get very quiet and gentle when I’m playing golf. Not a whole lot of things things can bother me.”

Alcott had five birdies and a bogey in her round of 68.


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