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Pettersen's 67 leads Nabisco

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Suzann Pettersen shot bogey-free 5-under 67 Thursday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Lorena Ochoa.

Ochoa, who teed off three hours after Pettersen in the opening round of the season's first major, rolled a long putt just right at No. 17 then missed a 10-footer at the 18th hole.

Majors champs Karrie Webb, Yani Tseng and Karen Stupples were among a group at 69. Defending champ Brittany Lincicome of Seminole curled in a birdie putt at No. 12 to drop to 4 under before bogeying Nos. 13 and 15 to finish at 70. Michelle Wie shot 71.

Pettersen has two top-10 finishes in three starts this year but is coming off a hip injury that required a cortisone shot and kept her from swinging a club for about three weeks.

"I thought I was going to have two solid weeks of practice," said Pettersen, who won the 2007 LPGA Championship and has three consecutive top-five finishes in the Nabisco. "It turned out to be two solid weeks on the couch."

Pettersen drove well, which is crucial at Mission Hills. She hit 12 fairways and 13 greens in regulation.

"There's just certain tee shots you've just got to take on," she said. "And I think if you can place it off the tee, I think you're in a very good position. You've just got to play what this course gives you. And patience, obviously. I would take a bogey-free round any day around this place."

Ochoa got off to a nice start with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 and finished with six and two bogeys.

"I think I was putting for birdie on a lot of holes, so I think that will be a key," she said. "I think (today) if I do the same, I should be in good shape."

PGA: Cameron Percy shot 67 to tie Kevin Stadler for the first-round lead at the Houston Open in Humble, Texas, and extend a streak at the tournament for players from Down Under. An Aussie has led or shared the first-round lead every year since 2006. Six have won a total of seven Houston Opens, including Stuart Appleby in 1999 and 2006 and Adam Scott in 2007. Stadler, 30, is the son of former Masters champ Craig Stadler.

Withdrawals: Vijay Singh and Paul Casey pulled out of the Houston Open. Singh, who withdrew from the Transitions Championship in Palm Harbor two weeks ago and the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, played nine holes (shooting 43 with two double bogeys) before aggravating his back injury. He said he'll take the next four days off then determine his status for the Masters. Casey has a left shoulder injury but said he expects to play in the Masters.

Pettersen's 67 leads Nabisco 04/01/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 1, 2010 10:59pm]
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