The loud cheers for runner-up Rosie Jones left no doubt as to who was the real Queen of Mission Hills. The salutes were part congratulations for her best-ever finish in the event, part appreciation for an act of courage and part farewell, because if the 45-year-old Jones retires at the end of the season as planned, last week's Nabisco will have been her 20th and last.
"I got it going and the crowd responded," said Jones, who has 13 LPGA wins but only seconds in the majors. "I'm a familiar face--and there's the Olivia thing." Last year Jones announced her endorsement deal with Olivia, a travel company that specializes in vacations for lesbians. Jones also announced that she is a homosexual. Says Jones, "The feedback from everyone--galleries, sponsors, players--has been only good. I thought there'd be more negative stuff, but the tolerance has been a wonderful surprise."
I felt as if I played pretty well. I only lost by 12 strokes.
--Juli Inkster, who finished seventh at the Kraft Nabisco
TODD BIGELOW/AURORA (WIE, JONES, GULBIS)
Rosie the riveting.