Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)


Gal Goes Low

September 10, 2009

Gal closed her first round with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole.

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) -- Sandra Gal's eagle on the 18th hole gave her a one-shot lead after the first round of the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship.

Gal shot a 7-under 64 in the LPGA Tour event Friday, and her uphill putt from about 15 feet on the final hole moved her past Song-Hee Kim and into the lead. Kim is alone in second place.

Brittany Lang, Pat Hurst and Angela Stanford are tied for third, another stroke back.

Gal, of Germany, played for the University of Florida. She is trying for her first win on tour. The 24-year-old led the Women's British Open this year after the first round, but shot an 80 in the second and finished tied for 33rd.

Kim, of South Korea, finished with back-to-back birdies Friday to put herself momentarily in front of the field. Her first-round 65 came a week after a wildly inconsistent performance in Canada that landed her in a tie for 10th at a tournament there.

Last week, Kim shot a 62 in the second round of the Canadian Women's Open, earning a share of the lead. She followed that up with a 77, then bounced back a bit with a final-round 67 for her seventh top 10 finish of the year.

Cristie Kerr, the tour's leading money winner this season, shot a 69 Friday, one shot ahead of Paula Creamer. Michelle Wie birdied the first three holes but had to settle for a 69.

Seon Hwa Lee, this tournament's defending champion, shot a 74.

The course at Pinnacle Country Club was recently renovated. On Friday, it played as a 6,244-yard par 71 -- it was a par 72 last year for this event.

The other big difference is the weather -- so far. Two years ago, this tournament was called off after 18 holes because of heavy rain. Rain was a factor last year as well, although players were able to finish the tournament.

It was sunny Friday for the first round, although there's no telling what the weekend could bring.