Stupples takes lead at Evian Masters

Friday, July 23, 2004

EVIAN, France -- Karen Stupples, the touring professional for Dalhousie Golf Club, shot a 6-under 66 Thursday to take a one-shot lead over Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam after the second round of the Evian Masters.

Stupples is at 10-under overall following a round which included seven birdies and just one bogey.

"That was all-around enjoyable," said Stupples, who will be paired with Sorenstam on Friday. "But I must admit I'm a bit surprised to find myself leading."

Sorenstam finished with a 69 while Davies, the leader after the first round, eagled the 18th hole for a 71.

Davies bogeyed four of the first five holes, before getting birdies on the seventh and ninth holes.

"Frankly, I considered heading for the beer tent," she said of her early struggles.

Stupples has been on the tour for four seasons but didn't win her first title until the Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tuscon, Ariz., in March.

At the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia in February, Stupples shot 70 and 68 in the last two rounds, but Sorenstam came from behind to win by four shots with two 65s.

"That would be lovely to do again. Certainly, I'm playing really good right now," Sorenstam said, though she felt "a little disappointed how I finished" on Thursday.

"I just hit every lip of every hole today," she said.

Stupples said she's aware of what the world's top player is capable of in later rounds.

"If Annika can win by 20, she will," Stupples said. "She always wants more. That's what Australia taught me."

Teen phenom Michelle Wie shot her second straight 1-under 71 and was tied for 26th.

"Today was the best and worst round of my life," said Wie, who had six birdies and five bogeys.

She also confirmed she would not play the British Open next week. As an amateur, Wie is permitted six sponsor invitations -- and said she has already planned those six.

U.S. Women's Open champion Meg Mallon shot a 69 and was six shots off the lead at 140. Defending champion Juli Inkster had a 73 and is tied for 28th at 1-over 143.

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