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Golf News: - Posted 13th May 1998

Laura smiles as rain stops LPGA Championship practice round

Wilmington, Delaware - Britain's Laura Davies was delighted that rain prevented play in the build-up to second major of the women's season, the McDonald's LPGA Championship at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware.

Following two weeks of heavy downpours the course was totally saturated. The caddies were allowed to walk the course, but practice was ruled out and staff faced a race against time to get it ready for Wednesday's first round.

But the conditions do not bother Davies, the winner in 1994 and 1996, because she is no fan of practising.

"It's fab," she said. "It's a long course, which suits me, and they can't shorten it too much."

While her driving remains in shape, it is the putter that has left Davies down at number 14 on the LPGA Order of Merit and coming into this event from finishing outside the top 20 in a tournament in Japan last weekend.

But she hopes she has found the remedy - putting with her left hand below right. "I tried the cack-handed method last week and there was a definite improvement," said the former world number one.

"It's been a miserable 12 months and it's all down to missing three or four footers.

"It's an awful feeling when you step up to a short putt and you don't know what is going to happen."

US Open champion Alison Nicholas had her own problems. She has been suffering from bronchial problems - "it's a form of pneumonia" - that forced her to pull out of the Sara Lee Classic in Tennessee last week, but was confident she would be fit.

In Solheim Cup season, Trish Johnson is another Briton needing to make her mark. She has missed four cuts from nine starts and is way down at number 115 on the Order of Merit.

However, the avid Arsenal fan, who returned home to see the side win the championship, may be distracted at the prospect of the Gunners completing the Double this weekend in Saturday's FA Cup final against Newcastle.

"If it wasn't a major I don't think I'd be here," she admitted.

American Chris Johnson defends the championship, while the European threat is headed by Swedish pair Liselotte Neumann, who has won twice in America this season and also in Japan last weekend, and world number one Annika Sorenstam.