Not just competition heating up

The Baltimore Sun

The LPGA doesn't keep records for the highest temperatures in major championships, but yesterday's third round at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace was among the hottest many remembered playing.

The on-course thermometer reached 100.4 degrees, and the heat index was 10 degrees hotter.

Many spectators, and at least one caddie, were treated by local paramedics for heat-related problems.

According to Harford County police on the scene, "dozens" were treated for heat exhaustion, with at least four people taken to local hospitals.

Jay Rothenberger, the caddie for Nancy Scranton, was treated after finishing the round.

"It was bloody hot," said Lindsey Wright of Australia, who struggled to a 1-over-par 73 that took her from one shot off the lead going into the day to four behind going into today's final round. "It was a tough day."

But Jee Young Lee, 22, from South Korea, doesn't mind.

"I like hot weather," she said. "You are more comfortable than cold."

Lift, clean and ...

It was easy to understand why tournament officials allowed the players to lift, clean and replace their golf balls in the fairway in Thursday's opening round, coming only hours after the course received nearly 2 inches of rain.

The ground was still a little soggy Friday, so the rule was still in place.

But yesterday?

"I was a little surprised we still played preferred lie," said Maria Hjorth of Sweden, who is a stroke behind Lee. "But I can also understand why. I had a few bad lies out there with old divots, and you know you have a lot of divots when the ground is so soft."

Considering all the divots that have changed the course of other major championships, you know weekend hackers everywhere are getting a good chuckle out of a rule that is also referred to as "Lift, clean and cheat."

Putting around

Hjorth's return to form might have something to do with her change of putters. After winning two tournaments in her second year on tour in 1999, Hjorth didn't win again until last year.

She has also had top-four finishes in her past two majors.

The Swede, 34, attributes some of her turnaround to her change in putters. After years of using a regular putter, and then a belly putter, Hjorth went to what some call a broomstick - or extra long - putter 2 1/2 years ago.

"I always said, 'No, no, no, that's for old people, it's not for me," she said. "I tried it because I was so frustrated not making [putts]. It was a really big change for me, and I feel so comfortable with it and I make so many more putts."

Brave souls

Despite the heat, 24,950 fans attended yesterday's round, according to tournament officials. That's the smallest third-round crowd since the tournament moved from Wilmington, Del. The three-day attendance was 61,475.

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