Mallon defies teen trend, wins U.S. Women's Open

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

The Associated Press

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- In a tiny New England town about an hour or so from where she was born, Meg Mallon brought a record gallery to its feet at Orchards Golf Club by taking only 24 putts in the best round ever by a Women's Open champion, a 6-under 65 on the way to a two-stroke victory on Sunday.

"I just can't believe the day that I had," Mallon said. "Today was magical."

Mallon erased a three-shot deficit against Jennifer Rosales and left Annika Sorenstam, who shot 4-under 67, in a hopeless pursuit to catch her.

Mallon finished at 10-under 274 for a two-shot victory over Sorenstam. It was her fourth career major, and she earned $560,000 from the richest purse in women's golf.

Mallon, 41, joined Juli Inkster and Babe Zaharias (43) as the only women in theirs 40s to win a Women's Open. It was the second U.S. Open title for Mallon, who also won it in 1991. The 13-year gap is the longest in history.

"Meg just played extraordinary today," Sorenstam said. "To shoot 6 under on Sunday at the U.S. Open, that's as good as it gets. I thought I played excellent. It just wasn't enough."

Perhaps it was only fitting that Mallon wound up holding the trophy.

The focus was on youth at this U.S. Women's Open, with a record 16 teenagers in the field. Brittany Lincicome, 18, shot 66 in the first round to take the lead and match the lowest score ever by an amateur. Two of them -- 14-year-old Michelle Wie and 17-year-old Paula Creamer -- got all the attention, and rightfully so.

They played like they belong on the LPGA Tour, both finishing at 1-over 285 and in a tie for 13th.

PGA Tour

LEMONT, Ill. -- Stephen Ames won his first career PGA Tour victory at the Western Open, shooting a 70 to finish at 10-under 274 and beat Steve Lowery by two strokes.

Northwestern alum and local favorite Luke Donald (67) and Mark Hensby (73) were three strokes back. Stuart Appleby (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (73) were four shots behind Ames in fifth.

Tiger Woods began the day with a chance to get his first stroke-play victory of the year, just four shots off the lead. But he couldn't get his putts to fall, and didn't make his first birdie until the 15th hole. He shot an even-par 71, and finished tied for seventh.

Champions Tour

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Jim Thorpe capped a 3-under 67 with an 18-foot par putt and beat three players by one stroke at the Long Island Classic to become the first player this year on the Champions Tour to defend a title.

The 55-year-old Thorpe won for the second time this year and the ninth time on the tour. He won the Farmers Charity Classic last month.

His 9-under 201 total was one shot in front of Bobby Wadkins (70), Andy Bean (67) and Wayne Levi (68).

European Open

STRAFFAN, Ireland -- U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a 4-under-par 68 for a five-stroke victory at the European Open.

Goosen, who led by one shot after three rounds, finished at 13-under 275. Richard Green (66), Lee Westwood (71) and Peter O'Malley (70) finished at 280. Goosen is the first player to win his first start after claiming a major since Tiger Woods in 2000 (PGA, NEC Invitational).

-- From wire reports

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