Juli Inkster fired a 66 to kickoff the Weetabix British Open with a three-shot lead. She blistered the front nine in 30 strokes (-5), got it to -7 with a birdie at 15 but bogeyed 18 to end at -6. Silvia Cavalleri and Maria Hjorth carded 69s to put themselves in second. Somebody named Elisa Serramia was -4 through 13, but a couple of double-bogeys sent her down the road towards her eventual 73.
The first round wounded numerous big names. Defending champion Jeong Jang teed off early, and her score of 78 was tied for last for a couple of hours. Eventually she was outdone by 28 other players, most notably Hee-Won Han (80). Other first-round stumblers included Se Ri Pak (78), Mi Hyun Kim (78), Pat Hurst (78), and Karrie Webb (76). It appeared that Annika Sorenstam would be the only member of my Weekly Picks trio to challenge Inkster, but she played the last two in 3-over to wind up with a 72.
Only 15 players broke par today, compared to 23 players posting a round in the 80s. This on a day that was sunny with the wind around 10-15 mph (that was during TNT’s coverage – don’t know if the wind whipped up any higher than that before or after the coverage). If the weather really does turn sour, a 74 might be pretty good. Right now the forecast looks good until Sunday afternoon, but my experience has been that the weathermen in Britain graduated from the same meteorology school as the ones in Atlanta.
I forgot to check on whether Inkster was hitting many drivers or not (not just her – I forgot to check anybody’s club selection and didn’t hear the announcers say), but the approach shots I saw her hit were all from the fairway and were mostly right on-target. If I was a player, I’d be a little concerned about having to come from behind to catch Juli Inkster. As steady as she plays and being a veteran of these events, she’s not likely to give it away.