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Even Without Practice, Regular Caddy, Jones Wins

May 27, 1996

CORNING, N.Y. (AP) _ Rosie Jones didn’t have any time for practice and was without her usual caddy. Turned out she didn’t need either.

Jones shot a 3-under-par 69 Sunday and beat Val Skinner by two strokes to win the $600,000 Corning Classic for her seventh career victory.

It was far from routine.

Jones arrived less than 24 hours before her tee time Thursday thanks to her dog, which caused some problems when it apparently bit a serviceman working on Jones’ house. She didn’t step on the hilly, 6,062-yard course at Corning Country Club until the morning she started the first round.

Terry McNamara, who has Jones’ caddy for much of her 13-year career, was working with the tournament committee and unavailable for Jones. She hired a friend from the Buffalo area to carry her bag.

No practice. No caddy. No problem.

Jones read the greens herself throughout the 72 holes and three-putted once. She led for the final three days, finished at 12-under par 276 and earned $90,000.

Jones, whose last victory came in the Pinewild Women’s Championship in April 1995, moved into the top 10 on the LPGA money list with $151,562 in 10 tournaments this year.

The 36-year-old was steady nearly to the finish, with only one bogey until she missed a 3-footer for par on No. 16. Jones made birdie on the next hole and closed out the tournament with a par on 18.

``I know this course like the back of my hand,″ Jones said. ``I could walk out like I did this week and just play. I might not even need a yardage book.″

Jones was holding a one-stroke lead over Skinner and Patti Liscio before pulling away on the par-5 12th.

Skinner, who shot a 70, pulled her drive against a fence and had an unplayable lie, causing her to take a penalty stroke. Her approach to the elevated green landed on the side of the hill and she two-putted for bogey.

Liscio barely missed a 20-footer for birdie on the same hole, and her par putt curled around the cup before lipping out. Jones, meanwhile, made a routine par to take a two-stroke lead at 11 under.

Jones went ahead by four strokes on the next hole when she canned a 12-footer for birdie while Skinner pulled another drive and made bogey. Liscio missed a 4-footer and never recovered en route to a 73.

``I thought I could make some birdies and apply the pressure,″ Skinner said. ``Rosie just played good, and that’s how you win golf tournaments.″

Nancy Ramsbottom, six months’ pregnant and playing her next-to-last tournament this season, shot a 69 and made a charge toward the front with birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 17 to move to 10 under, but it was too late.

Any chance of catching Jones disappeared when Ramsbottom missed a 3-footer for par on 18. Ramsbottom shared third with Joan Pitcock, who also made bogey on the last hole.

``I’m thrilled with the way I played,″ Ramsbottom said. ``To go out there and break 70 on a Sunday in my condition, I’m really proud of that.″

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