Internationals Abound at McDonalds

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WILMINGTON, Del. -- The LPGA has truly come of age as a world tour. Three Koreans, including leader Hee-Won Han, are in the top eight. There are two Australians ' Rachel Teske and Joanne Mills ' and two Scandinavians ' Annika Sorenstam of Sweden and Suzann Petterson of Norway.
 
And there is an American ' Wendy Ward, in a tie with Mills for second place at 3-under-par 68. Han, the leader, is at 4-under 67.
 
Even though we play mostly in the U.S., 60 percent of the players are foreign, said Sorenstam, who lives in Orlando, Fla., despite her Swedish background. These are the best women players in the world, and I think thats very positive.
 
Han was a teammate of Se Ri Paks on a South Korean national team for two or three years, she said. It was Paks victory here in 1998 that led eventually to Han deciding to try the LPGA Tour in 2001.
 
She broke out to 4-under after 13 holes, then dropped back to 2-under after two bogeys in the next three holes, but got back to 4-under with back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17.
 
Ward had up-and-down round, the good of which she attributed to a pairing with Sorenstam, the bad of which was an errant driver on two holes in mid-round.
 
She raced out to a 4-under advantage after eight holes. Then she bogeyed her ninth and 10th holes before finishing at 3-under.
 
You know, its funny, when you play with the No. 1 player in the world (Sorenstam). For me, it brings out the best, she said. I know you cant make it a match-play situation, you feel like if you can be 1-up (actually 2-up) on that player, you just have to be playing pretty well.
 
Her hot start included birdies on her second hole (No. 11), an 18-foot putt on her fifth hole (No. 14), a birdie on the par-5 seventh, and one on her eighth (No. 17) with a 15-foot putt.) In addition, she was quite pleased with her work on her first hole. That was when her drive landed into a bad lie in the rough, forcing her to chip out, but her third shot was up to three feet of the hole and she sunk the putt for an all-world par.
 
Ironically, you dont think of pars as getting you going, she said, but that one did. And then I just made some birdies and just kind of kept some momentum going.
 
Most of all, though, she loves the course.
 
I just have good vibes when I come here. This is a course that sets up well for me, she said.
 
Its a little different this year because its so soft. I think you kind of have to strategize a little bit more. In years past you used to get a little bit more run out of your drive, and almost be able to play it more aggressively. But there is a lot more strategy involved, especially for me this year.
 
The Americans filled the scoreboard in the tie for ninth place at even par. Included in the number are Juli Inkster, Natalie Gulbis, Beth Daniel, Tracy Hanson and Marcy Hart.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full coverage of the McDonald's LPGA Championship