Stanford takes early lead at SBS

Updated: 13 February 2009 17:35 IST

Angela Stanford shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 to take the early lead in the first round of the U.S. LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open on Thursday.

Stanford takes early lead at SBS

Kahuku, Hawaii:

Angela Stanford shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 to take the early lead in the first round of the U.S. LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open on Thursday.

Rookie of the year Yani Tseng, who was ranked 133rd a year ago and was now No. 2, opened with a 66, and Kyeong Bae had 67.

Michelle Wie, playing on her home island of Oahu and making her debut as a full-fledged tour member, was 1 under through six holes.

Playing in front of the largest gallery, the 19-year-old Wie made her first U.S. LPGA start since July when she was disqualified from the State Farm Classic.

Wie played the first SBS in 2005 as a 15-year-old amateur and tied for second.

Taylor Leon, In-Kyung Kim, Jimin Kang, Teresa Lu and Juli Inkster had 69s, while 2007 champion Paula Creamer was at 70, with Japanese rookie Mika Miyazato and a few others.

Starting on the 10th, Stanford got off to a hot start and finished strong on a calm, overcast, cool day at Turtle Bay that began with intermittent showers. She birdied the first two holes and made the turn at 4 under. She birdied two of her final three holes for the outright lead.

She hit a wedge from 112 yards to 3 feet on No. 7 and on the 511-yard ninth, she blasted out of the greenside bunker and dropped a 7-footer for birdie on her final hole of the day. She hit all but one of the greens, but managed to save par on the par-3 fourth by dropping an 8-footer.

The 31-year-old Stanford, ranked No. 8 in the world, was coming off a career-best season where she won two events, broke $1 million for the first time and finished ninth on the money list. She had six of her 10 top-10 finishes in the final six events, including wins at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic and Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She also finished sixth in the season-ending ADT Championship.

Tseng, who just turned 20 last month, was hoping for a big second season after winning the U.S. LPGA Championship and recording five runner-up finishes en route to rookie of the year honors. With all the success last year, she doesn't feel any extra pressure to succeed this season.

"I just feel really relaxed, and I don't want to put too much expectations," she said.

But she does want to supplant Ochoa in the rankings.

"No. 1 in the world has always been my dream. My goal when I was very young," Tseng said. "But I think I have a long way to go. It's just step by step. Just do what I'm doing now and just see the results."

The Taiwanese star played the first eight holes at 2 under before making her move. She birdied four of the next six holes to reach 6 under. She lost a stroke on the par-4 17th, but birdied the 539-yard 18th.

She led the tour last year with 388 birdies.



Topics : Golf
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