Karen Stupples posted a 67 to lead after one round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Lorena Ochoa and Ai Miyazato are tied for second, one shot behind. Natalie Gulbis and Heather Young both carded 69s to stand tied for fourth.
Stupples, the 2004 British Open champion, birdied five times with no bogeys. Miyazato birdied three straight holes on her first nine (11-13) and finished with back-to-back birdies at 8 and 9. Young eagled the par-5 11th along with four birdies to more than offset her three bogeys. Here are a few of the scores:
70 Mi Hyun Kim, Maria Hjorth, Liselotte Neumann, Maria Uribe
71 Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel
71 Momoko Ueda, Mallory Blackwelder
72 Se Ri Pak, Hee-Won Han, Yani Tseng, Amy Hung
73 Ji-Yai Shin, Jee Young Lee, Jeong Jang, Seon Hwa Lee
73 Jane Park, Pat Hurst, Lindsey Wright
74 Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Juli Inkster
74 Shi Hyun Ahn, Sophie Gustafson
75 Angela Stanford, Nicole Castrale, Brittany Lincicome
75 Minea Blomqvist, Brittany Lang, Hee Young Park
76 Karrie Webb, Laura Davies, Louise Friberg
76 Grace Park, Moira Dunn, Jimin Kang
77 Stacy Prammanasudh, Christina Kim, Angela Park
77 Catriona Matthew, In-Kyung Kim
78 Sherri Steinhauer, Eun-Hee Ji
Two amateurs are currently in the top 10 – Maria Uribe, a freshman at UCLA, and Mallory Blackwelder, a junior at Kentucky who is the daughter of former LPGA player Myra and current LPGA caddie (for Juli Inkster) Worth. Myra Blackwelder played in the 1987 KNC while pregnant with Mallory. A third amateur, Duke’s Amanda Blumenhurst, is tied for 29th after opening with a 73.
Stupples and Young went off in the morning’s first group and went -8 between them so at first glance you’d think the afternoon winds affected those with PM starting times. Miyazato, Gulbis, Neumann and Hjorth defied those odds with good late scores. The day’s average was 74.44, about even with previous years’ events, with 17 players breaking par. Those who scored as high as 77 have ten shots to make up on the leader in three days - not an insurmountable hole to climb out of but since Ochoa is standing near the summit, that mountain-top might get even higher.
During the telecast, it was mentioned that Louise Suggs will be honored during ceremonies at the Masters next week. Suggs, who grew up in Lithia Springs, Georgia - just a few miles from where the Hound Dog lives now – is one of the LPGA’s founding players and one of its greatest all-time stars. The Rookie of the Year award is named in her honor.
One more thing – as one of ESPN’s elevated shots overlooked the putting green, I noticed the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile parked just behind the practicing players. I’ll bet the hot dogs at KNC are the best!