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Nobilo hopes good day signals end to woes

HARRISON, N.Y. (AP) -- Frank Nobilo's best round of 1999 didn't put more than a year of misfortune behind him.

But Nobilo was ecstatic to shoot a 5-under-par 66 Thursday in the opening round of the Buick Classic.He trailed Stephen Ames by one shot heading into today's second round at the Westchester Country Club. Jim Carter was a stroke behind Nobilo.

Nobilo's recent history includes a bad shoulder followed by a mysterious swelling in both wrists that doctors at the Mayo Clinic thought for a time was rheumatoid arthritis. Medication for the wrists left Nobilo susceptible to infections, stomach problems, pulled hamstrings and other muscular woes.

He cut his toe just before last year's British Open when a razor blade fell in the shower, ruining that tournament for him because he couldn't properly shift weight when he swung.

Then, prior to last August's PGA Championship, Nobilo was riding off to practice in a golf cart at a resort when another golfer hooked a ball into his forehead just above his left eye from 80 yards away. That wound took 30 stitches to close.

Nobilo stopped being the golfer who won nearly $900,000 on the PGA Tour in 1997 and was a frequent threat in major tournaments.

LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP: At Wilmington, Del., Rosie Jones and Laura Davies both shot 6-under-par 30 on their first nine holes and thought about becoming the first woman to shoot 59. Both let a few birdies get away before settling for strong opening rounds in the LPGA Championship.

Jones has the lead with a 7-under 64, while Davies finished with a 65 Thursday.

WOMEN'S PUBLINX: At Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., some fear and a solid putting stroke were a good combination for TCU senior Angela Stanford at the U.S. Women's Public Links Championship.

Stanford, the Western Athletic Conference Player of The Year this season, advanced into today's third round by overcoming nerves and the pressure of playing two-time champion Jo Jo Robertson of Roswell, N.M., in Thursday's first day of match play.

Stanford played Carrie Summerhays of Heber, Utah, in today's third round. Another, Utahn, Sue Nyhus, also reached the round of 16 with a pair of victories Thursday.

SENIOR PLAYERS: At Dearborn, Mich., Larry Nelson, winner of three majors before joining the Senior PGA Tour, used an eagle to tie Australian Graham Marsh with a 6-under-par 66 Thursday in the Senior Players Championship.

They took a 1-stroke lead over Hale Irwin into today's second round.