LINCOLN, Calif. (AP) _ Tim Hovancsek, the director of golf at Twelve Bridges Golf Club, has wondered for seven months if the new 18-hole course would be ready in time for the $500,000 Twelve Bridges LPGA Classic.

A late-August planting of the rough's grasses gave Hovancsek one good reason to be concerned. The fact that fairways needed truckloads of turf _ about 900,000 square feet _ added to his emotional state.

``Now I think miracles can happen,'' Hovancsek said, proclaiming that the 6,273-yard course is eager to accept divots of all shapes and sizes. ``To see this all come together amazes me. We're all tired.''

Hovancsek, the tournament director, will greet a field of 144 golfers when the 72-hole tournament begins Thursday.

The field features 19 of the top 20 money leaders on this year's tour, including leader Karrie Webb ($273,943), Liselotte Neumann ($228,633), Patty Sheehan ($198,145) and Laura Davies ($176,072). Defending U.S. Open winner Annika Sorenstam, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins are entered as well.

Sheehan is coming off a victory in last week's Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament.

Hovancsek has been concerned with Twelve Bridges' fairways and greens. The course is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento.

``We've been going 90 miles an hour since the start,'' he said. ``The weather held and gave us three great weeks before the tournament to get the course into great condition.''

The course itself had to be modified earlier in the week, said Jim Haley, an LPGA tournament official. It was originally set up to play at a par of 72 and measure 6,273 yards. Instead, it will play to par-71 and 6,040 yards.

The tournament marks the return of the LPGA to Northern California. The LPGA's last event in the region was at San Jose in 1989.