Nancy Lopez rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and tied Beth Daniel for the lead after two rounds of the $225,000 LPGA Atlantic City Classic yesterday at Marriott's Seaview Country Club in Galloway Township, N.J.
Defending champion and first-round leader Juli Inkster lost a three-stroke advantage on the back nine and was one shot behind Lopez and Daniel heading into the final 18 holes.
Lopez, who has won just once this year, had five birdies and three bogeys in shooting her second consecutive 2-under-par 69.
"I feel very good about my position," Lopez said. "The way I'm hitting the ball, I'm anxious to go out and play tomorrow."
Daniel, who is emerging from a year-long slump, should feel the same way. She sank two chip shots and holed a wedge from 57 yards as part of a 4-under-par 67, the best round of the day.
Inkster looked as if she was going to run away with the tournament. She opened a three-shot lead after eight holes today, but ran into trouble on the back nine, bogeying the 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th holes, eventually settling for a 1-over-par 72.
"I didn't hit it that well on the back nine," said Inkster. "The wind was blowing and I was just using the wrong club. I guess I lost my concentration."
This marked the first time in the two-year history of this event that Inkster has not been the leader.
Dot Germain was two shots behind the leaders, one shot ahead of Patti Rizzo and Betsy King. All three players had even-par 71s on the 6,001-yard bay course.
Therese Hession and Canadian Barb Bunkowsky were four shots behind the leaders with 36-hole totals of even-par 142.
At Oak Brook, Ill., Greg Norman's bogey on the last hole cost him sole possession of the lead after one round of the PGA Tour's rain-delayed Western Open. Norman was alone at 4 under par until he made bogey from a fairway bunker on the last hole of a layout contrived from pieces of two golf courses.
His 69 dropped him back into a seven-way tie for the top in this tournament that has been delayed by floods and thunderstorms, cut to a 54-hole format and forced to spread itself over portions of Butler National, where the tournament is normally played, and adjacent Oak Brook Golf Club, a public course.
"We're just lucky to be able to play golf. There's a lot of folks out there with no houses," Norman said of the floods that inundated the western suburbs of Chicago and put Butler National under five feet of water early in the week.
The course was restored to playable condition Thursday night, but another thunderstorm struck and again delayed the start.
Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw had to adjust to the fact that they shot 73s, just four off the pace, but are through for the week, the victims of an 18-hole cut.
Norman shared the top spot with Bob Tway, Bobby Wadkins, Willie Wood, Andy Dillard, Ed Dougherty and Mike Donald.
In Seattle, Miller Barber sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the final hole to retain his one-stroke lead in the $300,000 Northwest Classic. Barber's 3-under 69 gave him a 137 total, 7 under par for 36 holes at the 6,501-yard Inglewood Country Club.
Three were tied for second at 138 including Orville Moody, whose 67 was the day's best, Butch Baird and Chi Chi Rodriguez, a six-time winner this year and No. 1 on the Senior PGA Tour money list. Baird and Rodriguez shot 68s.