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GOLF ROUNDUP

Cink gets drop on soggy NEC field

Free from the burden of trying to make the Ryder Cup team, Stewart Cink looked at ease yesterday at the NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The marathon day ended with his name atop the leaderboard.

Three days after he was a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup, Cink made five birdies on his first 10 holes on soggy Firestone South to lead by one shot over Rod Pampling when the rain-delayed first round was suspended by darkness.

Only 16 players in the 76-man field finished their round, which did not begin until 2:45 p.m

Pampling was 4 under par through 12 holes.

Tiger Woods had the lead to himself until he finished with back-to-back bogeys, both times missing 8-foot putts, to fall two shots off the lead. It was hard to tell what made Woods more upset -- ending his long day with bogeys, or having to return this morning to play one hole. He was 3 under through 17.

LPGA -- Kristi Albers had a hole-in-one on the 17th and shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the lead with defending champion Hee-Won Han in the rain-delayed opening round of the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio.

A violent storm rocked Tartan Fields Golf Club. After a delay of 1 hour 29 minutes, play resumed briefly before a second storm washed out the round.

Michelle Wie, the long-hitting 14-year-old amateur with the effortless swing, was 3 over through 10 holes.

She double bogeyed her last hole, flying the green after a perfect drive. From weeds and rough behind the hole, she chipped back across the green, then chipped to 15 feet and two-putted for a 6.

PGA -- Rookie Roland Thatcher shot a 6-under 66 to take the early first-round lead at the rain-delayed Reno-Tahoe Open in Reno.

Thatcher birdied his first four holes and six of his first eight in the $3 million tournament.

Mark Wiebe shot a 67 and Corey Pavin was in a group of players another shot back at 68.

USGA -- Frank Vana Jr. of Worcester was knocked out in the second round of the US Amateur Championship at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., falling to Spencer Levin of Elk Grove, Calif., 2 and 1.

Levin, who was low amateur in the US Open in June, was then ousted by Danny Green of Jackson, Tenn., in the afternoon. Green, the oldest player in the event at 47, surprised the 20-year-old Levin with a 2-up victory.

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