For Mallon, a routine isn't routine Playing every week puts her in a groove


WILMINGTON, Del. -- Meg Mallon is proving once again that when she gets in contention in an LPGA tournament, she is a threat to win.

She has played in seven of the nine LPGA tournaments so far this season, and has won both times she has been in contention.

"I don't know where I was those other weeks," she said yesterday as she prepared to play in the McDonald's Championship, which begins this morning at duPont Country Club. "I was making cuts, but I wasn't anywhere near the leaders."

She won in Tucson, Ariz., in March and in Nashville, Tenn., last week, where she was playing in successive weeks for the first time this year.

Now that the tour has settled into its every-week routine, Mallon is in a better position to do well. "You play consecutive weeks and you get into a groove," she said. "Our early schedule was so patchy; it made it difficult to get going."

Her indifferent play finally got to her after an opening-round 75 in the Sprint Classic in Tallahassee, Fla., two weeks ago.

"I called Mike [McGetrick, her teacher] and he gave me a 'telephone' lesson, a couple of drills to work on," said Mallon, 30. "I shot 67 the next day and felt so much better. I didn't play well Saturday [75] but good on Sunday [70], and it carried over to Nashville last week.

"I had been pull-hooking everything and that was frightening. I was hitting it in places I'd never seen before."

Two years ago, Mallon had the attention of the golf world when she won the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open within a three-week period. She wound up second on the money list.

"Last year, I expected to win, believed I should win, and as a result I put a lot of pressure on myself," said Mallon, who is in her seventh tour season. "This year, it's relax-and-go. I don't know when I'll win again, but I'm easier on myself, more relaxed."

NOTES: Two of the three players with Maryland ties will be in the same threesome for the first two rounds. Tina Barrett and Michelle Mackall go at 7:40 a.m. today and 1 p.m. tomorrow. Kim Williams' times are 1:10 p.m. today and 7:50 a.m. tomorrow.


When: Today through Sunday

Where: DuPont Country Club, Wilmington, Del.

Course: Par 35-36--71, 6,389 yards

Defending champ: Ayako Okamoto

Purse: $900,000 ($135,000 to winner)

TV: Chs. 11, 9. Saturday, 4:30-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30-4 p.m.

Tickets: Available at the gate

Directions: Interstate 95 north to Exit 8 in Wilmington (Concord Pike, Route 202). Follow signs for parking.

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