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Pavin Leads Bellsouth

Compiled From Wire Services

Corey Pavin, seeking his first victory since last year’s U.S. Open, shot a 6-under-par 66 to share the first-round lead in the BellSouth Classic with Jim Gallagher and John Wilson.

The trio held a one-shot lead over Russ Cochran and Neal Lancaster in the best field the Atlanta event has had in more than 20 years. It was moved back from its usual May start to the week before the season’s first major - the Masters.

Pavin and Gallagher are headed for Augusta National next week, but Wilson won’t compete unless he wins.

Fred Couples, who won The Players Championship last week, was in a group at 71 with Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, British Open champion John Daly and Davis Love. Tom Kite shot 70.

Emilee Klein, taking advantage of a course that suits her precision game, shot a 6-under 65 for a two-stroke lead after one round of the $500,000 Twelve Bridges LPGA Classic in Lincoln, Calif.

Klein had a bogey-free round that featured a five-hole stretch in which she struck for three birdies and an eagle.

Allison Finney finished at 67 at Twelve Bridges Golf Club, with Barb Mucha and Becky Iverson at 68. A group of five was at 69, including U.S. Open champion Annika Sorenstam and LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley.

Clarkston’s Robin Walton shot 1-under 70, including 32 on the back nine. Tracy Hanson of Rathdrum, Idaho, shot 75.

The way he’s playing, Hale Irwin expects to be a contender every week. Ed Sneed quit for eight years, resurfaced on the Senior PGA Tour in 1994, and didn’t expect anything like his round Thursday.

But there they were in Scottsdale, Ariz. - an odd couple atop the leaderboard at 7-under 65 after the first round of The Tradition, the senior tour’s first major.

“I think I’d have to say I surprised myself,” said Sneed, whose hole-in-one on No. 17 offset two bogeys in a round that also included seven birdies.

Raymond Floyd, the 1994 champ, was two shots off the lead, while course designer Jack Nicklaus, the defending champion aiming for his fourth Tradition title in seven years, was at 68 with Bob Dickson, Butch Baird and Arnold Palmer.

The U.S. Women’s Open in 1999 will be held in West Point, Miss.

The U.S. Golf Association said the major will be played at Old Waverly Golf Club on June 3-6, 1999.

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