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Confident Kerr shares early lead

LPGA Championship co-leader Cristie Kerr, watching her tee shot on No. 6, is out to snag the No. 1 ranking.

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LPGA Championship co-leader Cristie Kerr, watching her tee shot on No. 6, is out to snag the No. 1 ranking.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — With Lorena Ochoa out of the picture, Cristie Kerr began her quest to take over the top spot in the rankings.

What better time to start than Thursday at the LPGA Championship, the tour's first major since Ochoa announced her retirement in April.

Relying on clutch putting, and untroubled by a heavy downpour that briefly stopped play early in the afternoon, Kerr shot 4-under 68 to match Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee for the lead at the Locust Hill Country Club outside of Rochester.

Though admittedly "punchy" after a weather-delayed round that lasted nearly six hours, Kerr was not hiding her desire to go from being the top-ranked American to No. 1 in the world before this year is over.

"I feel that as far as No. 1 goes, I'm right in there," said Kerr, who opened the week ranked fifth.

Referring to Ai Miyazato, who took over top spot after winning the LPGA Classic last weekend, Kerr said: "Ai's been really hot winning four tournaments. I'm going to have to do some special stuff for the rest of the year, but it can be done."

Inbee Park, the 2008 U.S. Women's Open champion, Mika Miyazato and Lindsey Wright were a stroke back, leaving a logjam of 16 players within three shots of the lead.

It's a group that includes Juli Inkster, who showed that turning 50 doesn't mean she can't compete for another major title. The 31-time LPGA Tour winner celebrated her birthday by shooting 71. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome also carded 71.

PGA: Justin Rose birdied five of his final six holes for 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead in the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn. Rose missed a 12-foot birdie putt on 18, leaving him tied with morning starters Padraig Harrington, Charlie Wi and Mathew Goggin. Rose was 1 under through 12 holes before making his run, which included a 34-foot birdie putt on 17. "I was more than happy to walk off there with a par," he said. Vijay Singh shot 65 in the afternoon despite wind gusts of up to 25 mph. Six others also shot 65s, including 50-year-old former U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin, who hit all 14 fairways in regulation.

Ballesteros won't attend British Open: Seve Ballesteros has canceled plans to attend the British Open at St. Andrews next month. Ballesteros, 53, underwent life-saving surgery in 2008 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had planned to play in a four-hole event for former champions on July 14, the day before the Open starts.

Confident Kerr shares early lead 06/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 24, 2010 11:16pm]
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