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Britz' opening round of 64 was a women's course record, and her nine birdies equaled an LPGA record. Britz also had a little bit of luck. At the 17th hole her drive hit a cart path and bounced so far she had only a short pitch to the green and four-foot putt for her final birdie.
While bountiful publicity is accorded Lopez, the rest of the players tend to move from event to event in a pall of obscurity. Few outsiders were aware last week that JoAnne Carner, one of the tour's longtime stars, had been injured in a motorcycle accident in May and had missed three straight tournaments because of strained tendons in her right wrist. And after Friday's round, in which Britz had a 72 to maintain her lead, among the contenders were two players who were all but strangers to the press. Shannon Johnson, whose best finish this year was a tie for 47th, was at three under par and tied for fourth place. Rookie Muffin Spencer-Devlin, whose best was a tie for 43rd, was one under par.
Spencer-Devlin is six feet tall and gregarious. "I'm just what the tour needs," the former model and actress told reporters. "I'm good-looking and I have presence. A lot of good-looking women don't have presence."
On Saturday, Johnson shot an 82 to drop back into the pack, while Spencer-Devlin had a discouraging 76. Some of the other early leaders were having troubles of their own. Joyce Kazmierski had moved into contention with a 69 on Friday, when she one-putted 10 times using a putter that bore the inscription POLISH POWER. But before you could say John Paul II, she fell apart on Saturday, shooting a 79.
Meanwhile, Young, who had played rounds of 69 and 70, shot another 70 on Saturday and moved into a tie for the lead at 209, seven under, with a suddenly timid Britz, who had a 73.
The cheers up ahead from Lopez' gallery probably didn't help Britz. Lopez shot a 71 on Friday and then headed to the practice green to fiddle with her putting. After a few minutes, she said, "I've got it figured out," a pronouncement that was greeted with applause by her caddie, Roscoe Jones. On Saturday, Lopez made five birdies in a round of 69 that left her tied for sixth, but only four strokes behind Young and Britz. Announced an encouraged Lopez, "I feel like something is coming on."
Britz knew the feeling. Her four-stroke first-round lead was gone and now eight other players were on the scent as well and within four strokes of Young and her.
Among them were 23-year-old Amy Alcott, who tied for the lead during the day before dropping a stroke behind, and Carner, who was popping aspirin and soaking her sore wrist in hot water. Carner had a 72 Saturday to move into third with Penny Pulz, two shots behind the leaders.
While this went on, the Watusi Kid was strolling around mumbling, "Concentration. Confidence. Composure."—injunctions her husband, Ken, had suggested to her on Saturday night. Whenever she faced a difficult shot, she said the magic words. It also helped that she was making putts from everywhere, including a 40-footer and a 25-footer. Every time the ball went in the hole, she said, the victory music got a little louder. She hit her drive on the 18th hole and, watching it, smiled and said: "Boogie on down there, ball. Boogie on down."