Birdie binge helps Castle surge at N.E. Open
With birdies on half his holes, former Maryland State Amateur champion Jeff Castle shot 7-under-par 65 and surged into a one-stroke lead in the second round of the Sovereign Bank New England Open yesterday at Lake Winnipesaukee GC in New Durham, N.H.
Castle, who started the day three behind first-round leader Ron Philo Jr., birdied all four par 5s and ran off four in a row, starting at the fifth, and got to 10-under 134. Had it not been for bogeys at the 17th and 18th, he would have secured a larger lead. Castle will take a slim cushion into today's final round over Connecticut native and veteran minitour participant John Elliott, who shot 66 -135.
The six-way group tied for third at 7-under 137 is comprised of Michael Welch of North Quincy and Michael Carbone of Brewster, both of whom shot 69, Eric Egloff (69), Bob Kalinowski (67), Jesse Smith (66), and Frank Bensel (66).
Having made eight birdies in Wednesday's opening round, Philo made just two in a round of 74 -140 that pushed him six back, tied for 13th. Also tied for 13th is Kevin Silva of New Bedford, who backed up a 68 with a 72.
LPGA - China's Shanshan Feng shot a 5-under 67, playing a four-hole stretch in 5 under, for a share of the first-round lead with fellow Tour rookie Anna Rawson in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala.
Feng opened with five straight pars, then birdied the par-4 15th, hit a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up an eagle on the par-5 16th, and closed her first nine with birdies on the par-3 17th and par-4 18th. She had two birdies and two bogeys on the final nine holes.
Fourth in the Jamie Farr Owens
Rawson, a former Southern Cal star from Australia, had six birdies and a bogey. She has missed the cut in seven of her nine Tour starts this year.
Nicole Castrale, Angela Park, Michelle Ellis, and Irene Cho opened with 68s in hot, humid, and windy conditions.
European - Richard Finch of England and Jean-Francois Lucquin of France each shot a 6-under 66 in Pulheim, Germany, to share the first-round lead at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, a tuneup for the Ryder Cup.
Robert Karlsson followed the leaders with a 67. He is one of four European players using the tournament to warm up for next week's Ryder Cup in Louisville, Ky.
Men's Mid-Amateur - Steve Wilson gave his caddie all the credit after winning in River Hills, Wis.
Wilson had 14 one-putts in 32 holes and beat Todd Mitchell, 5 and 4, in the 36-hole final at the Milwaukee Country Club.
"My caddie kept giving me great read after great read," Wilson said. "He read it. I just get over and it hit it where he says."
Women's Mid-Amateur - Joan Higgens, 52, from Glendora, Calif., didn't birdie a single hole, but 13 pars were enough to give her a 1-up victory over Lynn Simmons in the 18-hole final at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.
She is the oldest winner in the tournament's history.
Jim McCabe of the Globe staff contributed to this report.