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LPGA rookies share first-round lead

Anna Rawson, who has missed the cut in seven of her nine tour stops this year, says a new putter helped her shoot 5-under 67.

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Anna Rawson, who has missed the cut in seven of her nine tour stops this year, says a new putter helped her shoot 5-under 67.

MOBILE, Ala. — China's Shanshan Feng shot 5-under 67, playing a four-hole stretch in 5 under, for a share of the first-round lead Thursday with fellow LPGA Tour rookie Anna Rawson in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

Feng opened with five straight pars then birdied the par-4 15th, hit a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up an eagle on the par-5 16th and closed her first nine with birdies on the par-3 17th and par-4 18th. She had two birdies and two bogeys on the final nine holes.

Fourth in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in July, Feng has missed the cut in 11 of her 19 tour starts this season.

"I'm feeling very good now because it's my first time to play good on a first round," Feng said. "I had some good rounds this year but not like the one I have on this first round."

Rawson, a former Southern California star from Australia who got into the field last week when Natalie Gulbis withdrew, had six birdies and a bogey. She has missed the cut in seven of her nine tour starts this year.

"I just hit fairways and I hit it close a lot, and then I made the putts," Rawson said. "I've kind of been playing that way for the last four weeks, and I haven't been making any putts. I think the new putter that I got on Monday really helped."

Nicole Castrale, Angela Park, Michelle Ellis and Irene Cho opened with 68s in hot, humid and windy conditions.

"The greens are very receptive, so that's the only thing you really have in your favor," Castrale said.

Cristie Kerr, coming off a playoff victory Aug. 24 in the Safeway Classic, was in a group at 69 that included LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng and Song-Hee Kim.

Paula Creamer shot 78, matching her worst score of the year. She had a double bogey on No. 13 and a triple bogey on 14.

"I had two bad holes and that was my round, a double and a triple," Creamer said. "Other than that, I would have been fine."

U.S. MID-AMATEUR: Steve Wilson had 14 one-putts in 32 holes and beat Todd Mitchell 5 and 4 in the 36-hole men's final in River Hills, Wis. Wilson, 38, reinstated as an amateur in 2005 after almost 10 years as a pro, owns two gas stations in Ocean Springs, Miss., with Gary Martin, his caddie and business partner. Mitchell, 30, an insurance agent in Bloomington, Ill., is a former Yankees minor-league infielder.

In the women's final in Ann Arbor, Mich., Joan Higgins became the oldest winner at 52. Higgins had 13 pars and no birdies in a 1-up victory over Lynn Simmons in the 18-hole final. Carol Semple Thompson was 48 when she won in 1997.

"I'd rather be the youngest winner than the oldest, but this is a special day," Higgins said.

EUROPEAN: Richard Finch and Jean-Francois Lucquin each shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Pulheim, Germany. Robert Karlsson, among four European players tuning up for next week's Ryder Cup, had 67. Fred Couples and John Daly started strong but faded. Couples (75) started with eagle-birdie and Daly (73) birdied his first two holes. Retief Goosen, the 2005 champion, shot a 76, and four-time champion Bernhard Langer was at 70.

LPGA rookies share first-round lead 09/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:39pm]
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