KANSAS CITY, MO., JUNE 18 -- Kristie Phillips, considered the United States' best hope for an Olympic gymnastics medal, easily won the women's compulsory segment of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships tonight in her senior-level debut.

Phillips, 15, who became eligible for senior international competition March 23, earned scores of 9.60, 9.65, 9.70 and 9.75 in four compulsory events for 38.70 of a possible 40 points.

The compulsories make up 60 percent of the women's finals, giving Phillips, of Baton Rouge, La., an adjusted score of 46.440 points.

Two other 15-year-olds, Melissa Marlowe of Salt Lake City and Hope Spivey of Suffolk, Va., were second and third, respectively.

This afternoon, former Olympian Tim Daggett, the defending men's champion who suffered a serious neck injury four months ago, placed third in the compulsories with 55.55 points.

The lead belonged to the University of Nebraska's Scott Johnson (57.20), a 1984 Olympian rebounding from a 15th-place finish at the 1986 nationals. Charles Lakes of Newhall, Calif., was second with 56.15.

Daggett's career was feared over when he fell on his head during an exercise Feb. 17 and ruptured a disk in his neck. Today's competition was the first for the 24-year-old Californian.

"I guess I was pleased with my performance," Daggett said. "After the injury, I had only 50 percent strength on my left side, the major muscle groups. But I've come a long, long way. I got really tired on the rings, though."

In men's competition, the compulsories represent 50 percent of the final score.

The top 20 men and women will qualify for the U.S. national team, and the top 10 will make the Pan American team.