Karen Stupples leads British Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/G/Golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Karen Stupples holds a two shot lead after a seven-under-par opening round of 65 at the Women's British Open on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Sunningdale, Berkshire:

Fine weather and low winds greeted the early starters for the first round of the Women's British Open at Sunningdale Golf Course on Thursday. Catriona Matthew held the early clubhouse lead - the Scotsman with five birdies on the way to a four-under-par round of 68. Beth Daniel leads a group of seven golfers at three-under-par. The American carded birdies at four of the first six holes, but failed to maintain that run on the back nine of Sunningdale's old course. Natalie Gulbis had topped the leaderboard after a scoring error awarded her a birdie putt at the second hole. The mistake was later amended to a par putt, but the American would still finish the day tied for third place at four-under-par. Annika Sorenstam would also card a four-under-par 68 in the opening round of her British Open title defence. The Swede is bidding for her eighth major title and hopes to become only the second woman to have successfully defended all four major titles. Sorenstam, who won the LPGA Championship for a second time in succession in June, carded seven birdies, but dropped three shots in her round. Neck-to-neck Sorenstam, Gulbis and Matthew share third place with Minea Blomqvist and Bettina Hauert. The wind began to pick up a little in the afternoon, but it would not be enough to block Karen Stupples' path to the top of the leader board. The Briton, who claimed her first LPGA Tour win in the Welch's/Fry's Championship in March, reached the turn in 33 after three birdies over the opening nine holes. Stupples then went on to birdie the 14th for a one stroke lead at five-under. Ana Sanchez forced her way into second place as the afternoon wore on. The Spaniard sat at one-under after seven holes, but carded two birdies before the turn to move into contention. Sanchez almost chipped-in for eagle at the 14th after her bunker shot hit the pin, but she dropped three shots over the last two holes to fall to two-under. Stupples went on to card further birdies at the 16th and 17th, before rolling in a par putt at the 18th to finish the day at seven-under-par 65, two shots ahead of Jung Leon Lee in second place. The 31 year old has yet to win a major title, but is now in position to change that fact on home soil. (AP)

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