Stupples leads again after British conquest

Friday, August 6, 2004

The Dalhousie touring professional leads the LPGA Tour event in Ohio.

By Rusty Miller ~ The Associated Press

SYLVANIA, Ohio -- Karen Stupples is playing with the confidence of a champion.

Teeing off just hours after a 13-hour flight from London, and without seeing the course, Stupples had seven birdies in a 6-under-par 65 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Still caught up in the excitement of winning the Women's British Open on Sunday, Stupples said she "floated around the course" after arriving in the Toledo area Wednesday evening and spending the night with friends. She caught some sleep on the flight and got a good night's rest and then picked up where she left off on the Old Course at Sunningdale after a five-stroke victory.

"The way I played last week gave me a lot of confidence in how I managed myself around the golf course," Stupples said.

One day into the 72-hole tournament, however, Stupples was well aware of her closest pursuers.

U.S. Open winner Meg Mallon, an Ohio State alum and a gallery favorite, had a run of three straight birdies and then birdied three of four in another stretch in a round of 66 that left her tied with defending champion Se Ri Pak.

Brandie Burton, Yu-Ping Lin, Catriona Matthew, Angela Jerman and Marisa Baena shared fourth place at 67. Rachel Teske, the 2002 Farr winner, opened with a 72.

Stupples, never better than a tie for 28th in five previous trips to Highland Meadows Golf Club, shot a 64 in the final round on Sunday at the British Open. She opened eagle-double eagle to pull away.

She celebrated her second career victory -- and second win of the year -- with family and friends for the next two days.

"I was so tired," she said. "I was so busy the last few days."

Still, Stupples never considered skipping the tournament to spend another week at her home in Dover, England.

"I have some good friends in the area," Stupples said. "I would have felt awful if I had not played."

She felt even better after making a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole and making the turn in 4 under. Her only mistake came at the 16th, where she missed a 2-footer for par, but bounced back with birdies on the last two holes.

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