August 21, 2008

Park Tries For First LPGA Win

Angela Park's six-under 66 bogey-free round has her in postion to grab her first victory and join the winner's circle on the LPGA Tour

Park's first round was bogey free and almost mistake free.

Park's first round was bogey free and almost mistake free.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Angela Park, winless on the LPGA Tour, shot a 6-under par 66 to take a one-stroke, lead Friday after the first round of the Safeway Classic at tree-lined Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Park, the 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year, shot a bogey-free round on the 6,397-yard, par-72 course.

"I'm eager to get my first win, but just because of eagerness doesn't mean my win is not going to come," Park said. "I try to play just one game at a time, one hole at a time. So, you know, when it's my time it will happen."

Kelli Kuehne was in a group of six tied for second at 67 with Hee Young Park, Song-Hee Kim, Sophie Gustafson, Helen Alfredsson and Karen Stupples. Stephanie Louden, Liz Janangelo, Becky Morgan, Katie Futcher and Hee-Won Han were two strokes behind.

Angela Park started quickly, carding birdies on four of her first seven holes on the way to a 4-under 32 on the front nine. She moved to 6 under at 13, and made pars the rest of the way to finish her round.

"It went very smoothly. No bogies out there, so that was a great start," Park said. "It was great because that's where I want to be coming into the first day, somewhere near that. So hopefully the next two days will be a little better."

Kuehne's round was one of the most dramatic Friday. She was 3 over after five holes, having made a double bogey at No. 1. Kuehne then recorded birdies on five of her next seven holes and was 8 under during her final 13.

"I got off to a rocky start," Kuehne said. "After doubling the first hole and bogeying the second hole, my caddie Nick just said, 'Let's regroup.' Then I started driving some good shots. The course is perfect as usual, so I had some opportunities and was able to make some shots."

Kim was 1 over through seven holes, before making birdies on six of her final 11. Defending Safeway champion Lorena Ochoa was three shots back at 69.

Among those joining Ochoa were Paula Creamer, Laura Diaz and Leta Lindley. Ochoa, the season's earnings leader with $2,337,206, birdied the final three holes to put herself into contention.

Ochoa capped her round by sinking a 50-foot birdie putt at 18. U.S. Women's Open champion Inbee Park and Karrie Webb were among those to shoot 70. Katherine Hull, who won the Canadian Women's Open on Sunday, shot a 71.

Annika Sorenstam, a two-time Safeway Classic winner, birdied her final hole to shoot 72. Pat Hurst, who won the 2006 Safeway, finished with a 75.

There was speculation heading into the tournament about how difficult Columbia Edgewater would play because of recent heavy rain. With the course drying out from Friday's 80-degree temperatures, 55 players in the field of 150 broke par.

The $1.7 million Safeway Classic, the longest running non-major on the LPGA Tour, attracted a field that includes 28 of the season's top 30 money earners.