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GOLF ROUNDUP

Romero is coming of age

Eduardo Romero opened his Seniors career with a 5-under-par 69 yesterday and shared the first-round lead at the Senior British Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Romero, who turned 50 five days ago to qualify for his first Seniors event, birdied three of the five par 5s at the Royal Portrush links. But the Argentine also had two bogeys.

Don Pooley, John Chillas of Scotland, and Jim Rhodes also had 69s, with defending champion Tom Watson six strokes back at 75 despite an eagle on the second hole.

Pooley's round included eagle 3s on either side of the turn, and Rhodes's hole-in-one at the 189-yard par-3 sixth hole won him 189 bottles of wine.

The four co-leaders are a stroke ahead of two Englishmen, Ian Mosey and Carl Mason, who returned 70s. Mason lost a playoff to Watson at last year's championship at Turnberry.

Behind them are five players who carded 1 under, including three Americans, Bruce Fleisher, Tom Kite, and John A. Jacobs.

Fleisher is looking for his third victory of the season.

LPGA/Ladies European -- Karen Stupples shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead over Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam after the second round of the Evian Masters at Evian, France. Stupples is at 10 under following a round that included seven birdies and just one bogey.

Sorenstam finished with a 69 while Davies, the leader after the first round, eagled the 18th hole for a 71.

Teen phenom Michelle Wie shot her second straight 1-under 71 and was tied for 26th. US Women's Open champion Meg Mallon shot a 69 and was six shots off the lead at 140.

European -- Nick O'Hern and Peter Lonard shot 8-under 64s and shared the first-round lead at the Irish Open at Baltray.

O'Hern, who failed to qualify for last week's British Open, started at the 10th and was just 2 under after nine holes. But he played the front of the 7,031-yard links at Drogheda, Ireland, in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

The Australian pair led by two shots over Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, Simon Wakefield of England, and another Australian, Brett Rumford.

The Irish favorites who have played this course regularly since they were teenagers were well off the pace, with the exception of Peter Lawrie who shot 67. Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington each had 70, while Gary Murphy shot 71.

PGA -- Eight golfers shot 5-under 65s and were tied for the lead at the US Bank Championship at Milwaukee, formerly known as the Greater Milwaukee Open. Another 10 golfers were one shot back.

"A lot of people, a lot of golf [left]," said Danny Briggs, who was tied for first with Todd Fischer, Bo Van Pelt, Brett Quigley, Patrick Sheehan, Brian Kortan, Robert Gamez, and Olin Browne.

New England Amateur -- Mike Welch won his second straight title with a come-from-behind victory at Orange, Conn.

Welch, three back to start the day, birdied three of his first seven holes and shot 67 for a 6-under 274. Kevin Quinn of Charles River CC and Brett Stegmaier of New Haven were one shot back.

Welch is the sixth player in the event's 75-year history to win consecutive titles. The last player to do it was Rhode Island's Brad Faxon (1980-81).

US Junior Amateur -- Jon Curran of Hopkinton, Mass., advanced to the second round of match play after defeating Lucas Lee of Los Angeles in 19 holes at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

US Women's Junior Amateur -- Top seeds Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., and Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., advanced to the quarterfinals at Fort Worth.

Deutsche Bank Championship -- Volunteers are needed for the event at TPC Boston in Norton (Sept. 3-6). For information, visit www.deutschebankchampionship.com, or call Keith Driscoll at 508-285-8333.

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