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Kuehne changes her tune

She got as much fanfare as just about any aspiring LPGA player, turning professional to play with Tiger Woods in the JCPenney Classic and agreeing to a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike before becoming an LPGA member.

Then Kelli Kuehne went out and showed how tough it is to be successful.

The two-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion on Friday shot her first round in the 60s on the LPGA Tour, which helped her make the cut for just the second time in nine tournaments.

"I made up my mind before the week started that I was going to start the year over here," said Kuehne, who shot 69 and was at 139, 5 under par. Her best 36-hole score was 2 over par.

Kuehne, 20, earned her tour card at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament held at the same LPGA International course.

"I've got good memories of this course," she said. "I feel comfortable here. This has been two solid days for me."

SHE HAS THE TOUCH: It must be a little scary to the rest of the players when two-time LPGA Player of the Year Annika Sorenstam feels the need to improve her putting.

That's what she decided to do several weeks ago when she switched to the left-hand-low (cross-handed) grip. It happened after the Dinah Shore tournament, when Sorenstam started working with short-game guru Dave Pelz.

"He told me to practice with the left-hand-low and everything was going in," said Sorenstam, who trailed leader Dawn Coe-Jones through two rounds of the Titleholders Championship. "I wanted to take it out to the course. It's more of a control thing. I have better control on long putts. It helps with my follow-through.

"I knew I needed to try something to help my putting. It was strange at first."

FORTY-SOMETHING: Chris Johnson, one shot off the lead, was excited to turn 40 last week. That means she can be part of a bonus pool on the LPGA Tour for players age 40 and older. Called the Lilly Legends, it is a seasonlong competition.

"(Young players) are envious now," she said. "The bonus pool they have is something everyone would like to be a part of. It's really neat."

HEADING HOME: The 36-hole cut came at 1-under 143, knocking out some notable players, including Hall of Famers Pat Bradley (144), Betsy King (144), Patty Sheehan (145), JoAnne Carner (153) and Nancy Lopez (156). Others to miss the cut were Meg Mallon, Liselotte Neumann, Laura Davies, Helen Alfredsson, Michelle McGann and defending champion Tammie Green. Lopez has missed consecutive cuts for the first time since 1994. Kelly Robbins had two eagles Friday but shot only 70.

_ BOB HARIG

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