WILMINGTON, Del. - Baltimore native Tina Barrett now calls Phoenix home, and for the most part she's quite happy living in Arizona with her husband of seven years, Dan Friedman. The downside, she admits, is that the chances of finding steamed crabs in the desert are about as likely as finding a cactus in Baltimore.
"I have brothers and sisters in Baltimore, so I get up there sometimes," said the 1988 Maryland State Amateur champion, who is planning a visit to the city between this week's McDonald's LPGA Championship and next week's tournament in Atlantic City, N.J. "I still love the Orioles and follow them, and I still love those crabs!"
Although Barrett has struggled at DuPont Country Club (since the event moved here in 1994, she has missed the 36-hole cut three of the six years) , she maintains that the course sets up well for her straight-and-narrow driving game.
With the rough higher this year than in years past, the players will be required to keep the ball in the fairway to have any chance of scoring well. The tour's fourth-most-accurate driver last season, Barrett hopes to be at an advantage.
"Historically, the course hasn't set up for me, but I really feel like it should," said Barrett, who's lone victory on the tour came in her rookie year of 1989. "I'm struggling a little bit right now, but I just need to get going somehow. The rough is up, but the course is in great shape and there is a premium on accuracy, which should help me."
Davies feels primed
Ever since Laura Davies had corrective laser eye surgery in February, she has seen, quite clearly, her play rise toward the level she achieved when she dominated the tour in 1996.
That year, the English sensation won four events, including a rain-shortened tourney at DuPont. But things went downhill from there, and last year she failed to win on the American circuit for the first time since 1992.
Now, after winning twice already this season, including last month's Philips Invitational, Davies comes to Delaware focused on keeping her mind from getting in the way of her swing - a swing that ususally finds her way ahead of the rest of the field off the tee, and which she hopes will separate her on the leaderboard, as well.
"A couple of putts here, a missed green there; I just need to cut out the stupid bogeys," she said on the practice range yesterday. "I'm very close. I just need to do it now."
The 144-player field has a distinct international flavor. Including Australian Karrie Webb and Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, there are 51 non-Americans from 14 countries competing this week. Non-Americans have won 12 of 18 LPGA tournaments this year. ... Cristie Kerr withdrew from the field yesterday, citing a case of the flu. Jeong Jang will take her place.