Defending champion Nancy Lopez, after sinking a 30-foot eagle putt on the 12th hole and a 30-footer for birdie on her final hole, said she is not out of the race for the LPGA Championship title.

The Hall-of-Famer and three-time winner of this event opened with a disheartening 78, but has rebounded with two 70s and stands at 5 over par, nine shots back with one round to play.

"Even par might win this thing," said Lopez. "If I could shoot 5 or 6 under tomorrow, I might be close. I putted pretty good today. I really played the back side much better."

Lopez eagled the 12th hole for the second straight day, hitting the green in two and sinking a putt from long range. After several near misses with her putter, she rolled in another long putt on her final green, and the ovation from the gallery brought a smile to her face.

"She fought hard; she battled it," said husband and former major league baseball player Ray Knight. Rest for the Weary

After playing three major championships in the same month and experiencing nerve-wracking rain delays in the recent U.S. Open and Phar-Mor tournaments, many LPGA Tour pros are worn out.

Betsy King, who rallied from far back to win the Open with 36 holes the final day, said she will put away her clubs for a while after today. Patty Sheehan, who lost a big lead in the Open and then lost last week's Phar-Mor in a playoff to Beth Daniel after staying in Ohio an extra day because of a rain delay, said she was very tired as well.

"It's been a long four weeks," said Lopez. "The rain and everything else, your body gets exhausted, concentrating so much. With the rain delays, your emotions go up and down. Emotionally, you get exhausted."

"We've had a lot of rain delays," said Cathy Reynolds. "Any time you have to stay at the course for 10 to 12 hours, it's wearing. I have really noticed a lot of weary faces out here. This course is long. It takes a lot out of you." Close but No Car

Reynolds came within inches of a hole-in-one and a new car on the 16th hole yesterday. Her 3-wood tee shot on the par-3 hit the pin and the ball stopped four inches from the hole. Reynolds has six career holes-in-one.

"When I hit it, I just looked down -- I wanted to hear the crowd," said Reynolds. "It was exciting."

Reynolds took a triple bogey on the first hole after hooking her tee shot but rallied for 72. . . .

Second-round leader Sue Ertl, Cindy Figg-Currier, Jane Crafter, Danielle Ammaccapane and other pros will stay in town an extra day and play in Monday's Alexanders Annapolis Pro-Am at the Eisenhower course. The Annapolis Foundation, whose goal is to raise $200,000 in the next three years for the U.S. Olympic team, is the sponsor. Thirty LPGA Tour pros, several Olympic gold medalists, sports figures and celebrities are expected. . . .

Officials estimated yesterday's crowd to be 20,000. Thursday's opening-round figure was 8,000 to 10,000, and Friday's estimate was 15,000.