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Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, February 17, 2001

L P G A _ G O L F

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Second-round leader Catriona Matthew will tee off
today, hoping for a wire-to-wire win in the
Hawaiian Ladies Open.

still on top

The Scottish golfer keeps a two-shot lead going into today's final round of the Hawaiian Ladies Open

By Bill Kwon

The winds remained relentless, but it was "Comeback Day" for those chasing leader Catriona Matthew in yesterday's second round of the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open at the Kapolei Golf Course.

And the "Most Improved Award" -- her very words -- went to Nancy Scranton, who shot a tournament-record 64 on a day when even-par was still a very good score.

"I've been playing well and waiting for something to happen and it did today," said Scranton, who had a top-10 finish in last week's LPGA Takefuji Classic on the Big Island.

The 12-stroke improvement from a first-round 76 put Scranton in a tie for second at 140 with Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, who shot a 69 to make a run for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Matthew shook off a double bogey at her 15th hole of the day -- the par-4 sixth -- to finish with a 71 for a 36-hole total of 138 and a two-stroke lead going into today's final round.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Catriona Matthew putts out on her
final hole to remain at 5 under.

"That's a fantastic score," said Matthew when told about Scranton's record 8-under round. "I thought my 67 (Thursday) was good, but that was amazing."

Matthew, a 31-year-old Scot, is in position not only to win her first tour event, but to become the first wire-to-wire winner of the year.

"I feel like I played pretty well today. I just had one bad hole."

Scranton played more than pretty well. She posted 10 birdies in tying a career-low round, which she shot in the du Maurier Classic in 1986 and 1991.

"I think this is the most birdies I've ever made," said Scranton, who birdied all four par-3 holes, a feat she doubts ever accomplishing before.

If she can't exactly remember, you can't blame her.

"I was in the zone," said Scranton, who birdied five of her last six holes after starting on the back nine.

Except for a 30-footer at the fourth hole -- her longest putt of the day -- seven of her birdies came on putts eight feet or less.

"Some days, you just see the line. I saw the line yesterday," she said.

Wendy Ward, alone in third at 141 after a 67 yesterday, likes her trailing position.

"It's very true that it's easier to sleep (overnight) not being in the lead," Ward said. "It's a proven fact, you can ask anybody out there. Nancy Lopez told me once that she won more from behind than when she was in the lead."

Ward's Exhibit A. She caught Dana Dormann on the final day in winning here in 1998. And Ward likes the course, which sets up well for her game, especially the par-5s. She birdied three of them yesterday.

"You're going to see some good golf coming down the stretch," she said about today's final round, which pays $112,500 to the winner.

Goetze-Ackerman hopes to be among the contenders. Winless since joining the tour in 1994 after a remarkable amateur career, she came close in the LPGA Corning Classic last year, losing a two-hole playoff to Betsy King.

"It was great being in the hunt. I hadn't been in the hunt in years. It got my juices going at the idea of possibly winning again," she said. "At least I've won at some point in my life. I know how to win and I know I can."

Also still in the hunt at 143 are Annika Sorenstam and Jennifer Rosales, who both shot a 69, and Brandie Burton. Grace Park bounced back with a 70 to be at 140 with Dina Ammaccapane, Becky Iverson and Michele Redman.

In contrast with the first day when only five players bettered par, 26 posted sub-par rounds yesterday.

Gloria Park made the biggest turnaround, following an opening 83 with a 68 yesterday, and the 15-shot swing enabled her to make the cut with an 8-over 152. King, the defending champion, was among the 77 survivors.

NOTES: Maggie Will aced the 131-yard 13th hole, using a 9-iron. It's the third hole-in-one in the tournament's 15-year history, the second at the Kapolei course. She got $1,000 from the Mainichi Broadcasting System, which is televising the event back to Japan. More importantly, the ace enabled Will to make the cut. Even a birdie wouldn't have done it.

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