10 birdies quite a cure after illness

Updated: July 16, 2004, 10:59 PM ET
Associated Press

VIENNA, Ohio -- Gloria Park had 10 birdies in a 6-under 66 Friday and held a one-stroke lead in the tournament she almost didn't play in.

She was sick Thursday night and seriously considered withdrawing before the first round of the LPGA Giant Eagle Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.

"I feel pretty good now," Park said. "[Thursday], my stomach was hurting and I threw up during the night."

Young-A Yang had a 67 and Donna Andrews was another stroke back. Marilyn Lovander, Nadina Taylor and Laura Diaz all had 69s.

Defending champion Rachel Teske struggled all day and finished with a 75.

Park has been bothered by a sore left wrist over the past three months.

"My wrist was still hurting," she said. "I was getting ultrasound on it this morning and actually asked one of the sponsors if they had any alternates because I really wasn't feeling well."

Park tied her personal best for birdies in a round but also struggled at times. She had two bogeys and double-bogeyed the 163-yard, par-3 12th.

"At that point I was really mad," Park said of hitting a 4-iron long off the tee. "On this golf course you don't want to be over the green on a few holes and that was one of them."

The field is anything but stellar. Pat Hurst, who shot a 73, is the only one here in the top 20 on the money list. She is 18th.

That gives players like Yang hope. The 25-year-old has missed the cut in 10 of 15 starts this year. Yang, like Park, is from South Korea. She has never finished higher than sixth.

"I made a birdie on my first hole, which was No. 10, and I had about a 14-footer," Yang said. "I think after that I was pretty confident."

Yang had only one bogey. She missed the green on the 526-yard, par-5 2nd and missed a 10-foot par putt. That didn't bother her as she came back to record birdies on Nos. 5 and 6, the latter coming when her approach shot hit a tree and rolled within 2 feet of the cup.

"The last couple of events I have stumbled on a few holes and that changes the momentum," Yang said. "Today I was pretty aggressive and I felt my focus was a little off (on the back nine). But I talked to my caddie and I feel I have gotten over the stumbling."

While Park's medical issues were short-term and unexpected, Andrews has had her own woes for most of her career. She's playing in just her second event in 10 weeks because of a dislocated right shoulder, which happened while trying to pull apart two fighting dogs. She had the same injury in 1999 when she was thrown off a horse.

"I couldn't live life without my four-legged critters," the 37-year-old said. "It's not an option. I've been injured so much during my career anyways I think my [name] is Donna 'Rehab' Andrews'."

Andrews had five birdies on the par-37 front nine. She bogeyed 10 and 14 before making up a stroke on No. 16.

"My golf game feels good for not having played much," Andrews said. "I have a lot of confidence in my golf swing right now."

Lee Ann Walker-Cooper had a hole-in-one on the 181-yard 15th with a 7-wood. She finished at even par.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press