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Well-rested Mucha gets quick start

After seven weeks off, Barb Mucha is back on her game.

Mucha, playing her first tournament since mid-January, tied the course record with 8-under 65 Thursday to take a one-shot lead over Dawn Coe-Jones after the opening round of the LPGA Standard Register Ping.

"It was an easy eight in perfect conditions _ no wind, hot weather and firm greens. Every putt I looked at I felt I could make," said Mucha, who had her best money-earning year with $304,805 and five top-10 finishes in 1996. "I had 11 3s on my card. Now I want to see how low I can go."

Mucha's bogey-free round matched the Moon Valley Country Club mark set by Amy Alcott in 1988 and equaled by Patty Sheehan in 1993 and Nancy Lopez in 1994.

Kelly Robbins, who won last month in West Palm Beach, was alone at 67 after five birdies on the back nine.

Three-time defending champion Laura Davies, who never has bettered 69 in a first round here, needed five birdies in eight holes to finish at 70.

Annika Sorenstam, with two wins and a second in the five events she has entered, was in a large group at 71.

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