Teske triumphs with back-nine surge

Sunday, July 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) _ Rachel Teske pulled away from rookie Beth Bauer with four birdies in a six-hole span coming down the stretch Sunday to win the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic by two strokes.

Her closest call came before the tournament even began.

She almost missed her tee time in Wednesday's pro-am because of airline problems, arriving at the course 45 minutes before she was scheduled to tee off. On the LPGA Tour, players who do not play in the pro-am are disqualified from the tournament.

The victory, Teske's sixth in as many years on the LPGA Tour and second of the year, was worth $150,000. She also won the Ping tournament to start the 2002 season.

Teske's final-round 66 left her at 14-under 270 and two shots better than Bauer, who parred the last six holes while shooting a 69.

Teske had lost in a playoff to Annika Sorenstam two years ago, birdieing the last two holes but missing several other opportunities.

Not this time. After a bogey on the 10th hole dropped her a shot behind Bauer _ a cool and calm rookie seeking her first victory _ Teske rolled in a pair of lengthy birdie putts on the next two holes to grab a share of the lead with Bauer,who had also birdied the 12th hole.

Playing in the group ahead of Bauer, Teske matched Bauer with pars on the next two holes.

Her approach on the par-4 15th came to rest pin high and 15 feet from the hole. When she made the birdie putt, it gave her the lead by herself for the first time since the seventh hole.

She came right back and hit an 8-footer for birdie at the 16th hole to expand the lead to two shots.

Bauer, meanwhile, was playing well but not making birdie putts. Her 10-footer at the 13th hole wrinkled as it slid off the right edge. She barely missed a 15-footer at the 16th hole, then saved par after hitting her approach into the trees at 16.

Bauer's last shot at forcing a playoff was ruined when _ needing an eagle on the 72nd hole to tie Teske _ her wedge ended up a few feet from the pin. She two-putted for a par to cap four rounds in the 60s _ the first time she's done that as a pro.

Starting the round a shot back of co-leaders Bauer and Karrie Webb, Teske played the first seven holes in 3-under to get to 12-under and the lead by a shot over Bauer.

Webb had won 16 of the previous 25 times she held at least a share of the lead heading into the final round of an LPGA event. But she was never a factor after bogeying the first hole after failing to get up and down from the right rough and then double-bogeying at the third hole.

Her drive on the par-4 third hole ended up perched on the lip of a bunker, forcing her to stand in the trap with the ball two feet above her feet. She punched out into another bunker, then flew the green with her third shot before chipping 25 feet past the pin and two-putting.

Webb's 1-under 70 left her at 273 and tied for third with first-round leader Laura Diaz, who closed with a 67.

Amy Fruhwirth shot at 66 to get 274 where she joined Kelli Kuehne, who had a final-round 68.

Danielle Ammaccapane, who started the day tied for 43rd, jumped up the leaderboard with an early 9-under 62 that matched several tour records. With birdies at holes 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9, she shot a 6-under 28 on the front side, tying the raw score for a side by seven other women. Her 62 tied the lowest fourth-round score in LPGA history, set by Mi Hyun Kim a year ago at the Farr.