GOLF: ROSALES FALLS ANEW, DELASIN CLIMBS IN FRANCE'S EVIAN MASTERS

EVIAN, FRANCE, July 26, 2003 (Star) Jennifer Rosales failed to keep the momentum of a solid stint in the first round and sputtered with a one-over par 73 Thursday, tumbling down to joint 24th from a share of seventh halfway through $2.1 million Evian Masters in Evian, France Thursday (Friday in Manila).

With a 143 aggregate, Rosales found herself trailing Rosie Jones by eight strokes after the veteran American campaigner birdied the last two holes of the par-72 Evian Masters Golf Club course to fire a 68 and wrest the lead from Lorena Ochoa at 135.

Rosales actually looked headed for a big rebound after bogeying two of her first five holes by birdying three holes linking both nines to go one-under. But back-to-back missed-green bogeys from No. 11 stalled her charge again and the five-time RP Ladies Open champion settled for a closing 37 and a 73.

In contrast, Fil-Am Dorothy Delasin made her move and shot a four-under par 68 to join Rosales in a seven-playing group occupying 24th-30th places.

Hounded by a long slump and relegated to the background by Rosales’ impressive performance in the last few legs of the lucrative circuit, Delasin finally showed the form that won her three titles on the tour, firing a flawless four-under card at the back for a 32 and a 68.

But the former RP teammates must come up with solid games in the final two rounds to crash into the top 10 with the expected charge of the pacesetters vying for the top $315,000 purse.

Jones stood on nine-under 135, a shot clear off erstwhile joint leader Ochoa, who shot a 70 while Juli Inkster, who shared the lead with Ochoa in the first round, matched par 72 for joint third with Sophie Gustafson (67) at 138.

Jones, who will turn 44 in a couple of months, won the Asahi Ryokuken International in South Carolina in May and shows no sign of flagging.

By holing from 10 feet at the 18th, she took pole position into the last two days but she pointed out: "There’s still 36 holes to go and a lot of good names are right up there."

But one surprise absentee from the list of 33 names on par or better was world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam of Sweden.

Making her first appearance since pulling out of the Canadian Open due to exhaustion two weeks ago, she could do no better than 73 for a one-over 145 aggregate.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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