Kuehne's 67 good for lead in LPGA opener

KAHUKU, Hawaii --- Kelli Kuehne shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to take the early first-round lead Thursday in the LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open.


Annika Sorenstam, coming off an injury-shortened season where she failed to win for the first time since her rookie season in 1994, was 3-under through 16 holes. She played in a group with defending champion Paula Creamer, also 3-under.

South Korea's Jacqueline Yang had three birdies and a bogey on each side to open with 68, and Meena Lee matched 45-year-old Sherri Steinhauer with 69.

Kuehne was in the second group off the 10th tee and took advantage of the tranquil morning conditions.

"I hit it well and I made a couple putts, so I'm certainly not complaining about my first round of '08," said Kuehne, whose best finish in 2007 was a tie for 24th at the MasterCard Classic. She tied for 25th a year ago at Turtle Bay.

ELS IN MATCH PLAY: Ernie Els changed his mind and entered the Accenture Match Play Championship next week in Arizona, a tournament where he has never made it past the second round in America.

Els, a three-time major champion and No. 4 in the world ranking, officially entered Thursday.

That leaves Brett Wetterich with a shoulder injury as the only player to have withdrawn. The 64-man brackets will not be set until Monday afternoon, although Els likely would play ex-Clemson star Jonathan Byrd in the first round.

Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed, would face FBR Open champion J.B. Holmes in the first round.

NEW ZEALAND PGA: In Christ-church, New Zealand, Canadian David Hearn and Americans Darron Stiles and Matt Betten-court shot 6-under-par 66 to share the lead after the first round of the tournament co-sanctioned by the Australasian PGA and Nationwide tours.

Augusta's Scott Parel made the long trip to New Zealand and opened with an uneventful round -- 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey for 72. Through two events this season, Parel is 20th on the money list with $16,800.

INDONESIAN OPEN: In Jakarta, Australia's David Bransdon and the Netherlands' Joost Luiten shot 6-under 64s on Thursday to take the lead in the suspended first round.



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