WILMINGTON, Del. -- Se Ri Pak and Heather Daly-Donofrio came out of last October's qualifying school together, but they have been playing the tour on different levels.
Pak, 20, who dominated women's professional golf in Korea for two years before qualifying school (either first or second in 13 of 14 events), shot to the top of the leader board in record-setting fashion in the first round of the LPGA Championship yesterday.
Her lowest round of the year, a 6-under-par 31-35--65 over DuPont Country Club course -- which was drying out but still playing very long -- pushed her one shot clear of tour veteran Lisa Walters, 32-34--66.
Walters, who hit every green, had an indication something like a seven-birdie spree was coming after taking last week off and making 14 birdies in two practice rounds. Dale Eggling, a playoff winner in Los Angeles earlier this year, was also 5 under until making a double-bogey 6 at the ninth hole, her last of the day.
The resulting 68 left her in a five-way tie that included Daly-Donofrio.
In a group at 69 was Kelly Robbins, who had set the previous one-round record when she shot a first-round 66 on her way to victory in 1995.
Pak, unfazed by being grouped with JoAnne Carner and Nancy Lopez, had eight birdies, including all three par-5's, all on putts inside of 10 feet. For the season, she has missed only one cut in nine events. Daly-Donofrio, 28, who finally qualified for the tour in her fifth attempt, is at the other end of the spectrum.
She finished with five birdies, and her 68 was her best round of the year by two strokes. Coming here, she had made only one cut in nine starts, tying for 68th in the Titleholders. Of her 20 previous rounds, 11 of them had been 75 and higher.
NOTES: Tina Barrett, averaging 2.5 birdies a round, has not made one in her past two rounds after going 3 over par in her first five holes and getting home with a 5-over 76 that included 35 putts. Potomac resident Kim Williams also had 75. There were preferred lies on two holes, which were extremely soggy and muddy.
(Scores, Page 7D)
Pub Date: 5/15/98