BETHESDA -- On the crowded leader board at the LPGA Championship, three players have to feel more confident about their position because they have the records to back it up.
Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez (46) and Patty Sheehan (30) have 76 victories between them. Of the others, Trish Johnson has won twice this year and is the tour's top money-winner.
Cindy Rarick has won five times, but none since 1991, so past Lopez and Sheehan, there are four who have won a total of 10 events, and four others who are winless.
"I need to go figure out my driver," Sheehan said after hitting only five greens on the back (her last nine, but the front nine of the course because she started on No. 10).
"It was a scrambling son-of-a-gun. I got it up and down a lot, and had a couple of really great recovery shots."
Of the group jamming the top of the leader board, she said, "The golf course eliminates a certain number of people. If you lose your patience, you'll struggle."
Driving haunts Barrett
The strong parts of Tina Barrett's game deserted her, as she put up an uncharacteristic 6-over-par 39-38--77.
The Perry Hall High graduate had come into the championship backed by the most consistent performances of her five years on tour.
Of 12 events this year, there have been three top five finishes, and ofher last six starts, in only one did she finish worse than a tie for 20th.
Statistically, she was second on the tour lists for rounds under par and driving accuracy. In five previous starts at Bethesda Country Club, her best finish was as an amateur in the Greater Washington Open in 1988, a tie for 25th.
She had, however, made the cut each time as a pro, with her best being a tie for 30th last year. Now, a round of 66 or 67 is probably needed today to avert missing only her second cut of the season.
"I just drove it poorly," she said, and the fact she hit only two fairways (she had a percentage of 82 before the round) attests to that. Such were her struggles to reach the greens, that her 28 putts only saved her from a higher number.
She bogeyed her first three holes, and the ninth, then had one birdie, at the par-5 12th, to go with three more bogeys, at the 10th, 16th, and 18th.
Williams opens well
Former Kensington resident Michelle Mackall double-bogeyed her last hole (No. 9) to join Barrett at 77, and Kim Williams, a former district and state amateur champion who plays out of Bethesda, bogeyed the last hole for 35-37--72.
For Williams, it was her second-best opening round of the year, exceeded only by a 71. She has made five cuts in 11 events, with her best finishes a tie for 35th in Hawaii, and a tie for 37th in the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing, Mich., last week.
Here, she had a birdie and a bogey on the front nine and one of each on the back to be even through 17 holes, then bogeyed the 18th.
"I was losing it coming in; I was getting tired. At 18, I drove it in heavy grass and could only advance it a short way."
From there, she hit a 9-iron shot to the back of the green and two-putted from 30 feet.
Alfredsson at 76
Sweden's Helen Alfredsson, the 1992 LPGA Rookie of the Year and this year's Nabisco Dinah Shore winner, is tied with 13 others after shooting a 5-over-par 39-37--76.