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Inkster doll scores on third try

Juli Inkster's legacy now includes a first on the LPGA Tour: her very own bobblehead doll.

Officials of the Chick-fil-A Championship in Stockbridge, Ga., inquired if she would be willing to let them make a bobblehead of her to distribute as a promotion during their event last month.

'They sent me the first model, and I vetoed it,' says Inkster, who will defend her U.S. Women's Senior Open championship July 3-6 at Pumpkin Ridge 'It was really bad. They re-did it, and it was better, but it didn't look like me, either. They put a visor on the third one, and it at least looked like a girl.'

Inkster dolls were given to the first 3,000 spectators at the Chick-fil-A tourney.

'But I can't tell you how many players came up to me that week and said, 'I want a bobblehead,' ' Inkster says, laughing. 'I said, 'No way.' '

• The Women's Senior Open will be the fifth major in eight years for Pumpkin Ridge, placing respected greens superintendent Bill Webster in a class of his own in the western United States.

'You have to go to the East Coast to find a course that has had more than we have in that space of time,' Webster says. 'There are some wily veterans back there who have chalked up quite a few.'

April's rainy weather has provided a challenge for Webster and his crew.

'We have had to bring on a fairly significant amount of people to do hand work,' Webster says. 'You have to protect the course. The wet soil just won't tolerate heavy machinery. If you tear the course up in the spring, you end up re-sodding or marking with white paint during the event. I think we are through the worst of it now, fortunately.'

• The USGA will place a premium on attracting juniors to the Women's Senior Open. Each ticketed adult will be allowed to bring up to nine juniors age 17 and under to the event for free. Three clinics, with Peter Jacobsen and Patty Berg among the hosts, will be held at noon Monday through Wednesday during tournament week. Each youngster will receive a free golf cap. There will be a putting course and USGA junior tent.

• Nancy Marshall, director of operations at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha, says it is one of only two public-private courses in the country to flop its two 18-hole courses every two weeks. Members play the south course for two weeks, then the north course the next two weeks, with the other course always available to the public.

'We originally thought we would establish one of them as the members' course, but I don't think we will do that now,' Marshall tells members of the Northwest Golf Media Association. 'Our membership is split on who likes which course best. Most of them like the idea of getting a chance to play both.'

Recently constructed private clubs in the Northwest are feeling the effects of the recession, says Bob Hollister, general manager at Overlake Country Club in Bellevue, Wash.

'Well-established clubs with a strong membership base are doing OK,' Hollister says. 'They have some insulation from today's economic climate. Clubs developed over the last five or 10 years are facing the biggest challenge. There's no question, there's a greater supply than demand right now.'

Marshall says only two Portland area clubs currently have waiting lists Ñ Waverley Country Club and Portland Golf Club.

• After impressing everybody with his performance in Blazer training camp last fall, Richie Frahm played pro ball in Turkey last season.

The 6-4 guard from Battle Ground High and Gonzaga averaged 18 points for his Istanbul team. Once the Iraqi war started, 'I found myself playing only 300 miles from Baghdad,' Frahm said. 'I came back two weeks before the season ended. A good experience overall, but I was glad to get out of there.'

Frahm soon will attend a New York Knicks mini-camp. He intends to play in the United States next season, whether in the NBA or a minor pro league.

Frahm was in the Portland area last week visiting his parents and securing the No. 18 jersey he wore with the Blazers in the preseason. 'My parents want it for the archives,' he says with a grin.

•ÊThe latest issue of ESPN the Magazine features great moments in trash-talking history, among them Scottie Pippen's remark to Utah's Karl Malone as he toed the foul line for a pair of critical free throws near the end of a Sunday game in the 1997 Finals: 'The Mailman don't deliver on Sunday.'

Says Pippen now: 'It just came to me. And he missed both of those foul shots, didn't he? At the time, I didn't know if I should have said it, but I guess it turned out to be the quote of the century.'

• Jack Ramsay, 78 years young, says he last competed in a triathlon three years ago. 'But I still work out almost every day, swimming, running and lifting weights,' says the former Blazer coach, now an ESPN broadcaster. 'I still weigh 180 like I always have.'

• Portland's Steve Forbes will finally make his Oregon pro boxing debut June 13 on a card at Lincoln City's Chinook Winds Casino that will include Tonya Harding.

Forbes, the former IBF junior lightweight champion, will go against an as-yet-to-be-named opponent.

'It's long overdue,' says Forbes, 23-1 after a unanimous decision over Silverio Ortiz in Las Vegas last month. 'I am real excited to be fighting in Oregon for the first time.'

Forbes, 27, hopes that the Lincoln City bout will be a tuneup for an August title fight with world champion Carlos Hernandez of El Salvador.

'Doesn't matter where we fight,' says Forbes, now training under Ray Lampkin. 'As long as we have neutral judges, I will fight him anywhere. I am real confident in my ability.'

• Former University of Portland standout Travis Parrott teamed with Josh Goffi to defeat Paul Goldstein and Robert Kendrick Ñ ranked No. 29 in the world Ñ 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the finals of last week's $50,000 Eddleman USTA Challenger Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. The win improves Parrott's doubles ranking to No. 235 on the ATP list.

• Former Oregon State standout Felicia Ragland was waived by the WNBA's Seattle Storm after the first week of training camp.

'I am heartbroken,' says Ragland, who averaged 4.5 points in 31 games last season as a rookie. 'I am still shocked. It is hard to get cut when you thought you were doing all right. Hopefully, I will get a chance with another team.'

• Ex-Duck running back Onterrio Smith, a fourth-round pick by Minnesota last month, already has given himself a nickname: 'The S.O.D. Ñ steal of the draft.'

Knee surgery and off-the-field concerns contributed to Smith slipping to round four, but he says he will prove doubters wrong.

'People will make judgments on you,' Smith said during a three-day mini-camp last week. 'I know the character issues were half the problem. You had guys that got injured later than me going ahead of me in the draft. But things happen for a reason, so hopefully this will turn out to be a good thing.'

The Vikings have nine running backs on their roster, including veteran Doug Chapman, second-year player James Wofford and free agent Larry Ned.

'It would be hard to find a team with the kind of depth we have at the running back position,' says offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. 'We felt good going into the draft before we took Onterrio. We will get a chance to look at him this year, and we don't have to be in a rush with him because we are in fairly good shape. He will be able to take a couple of deep breaths and get settled into the system before we find out how ready he is.'

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