Originally created 08/11/01

Lindley's bogey-free 64 gives her one-shot lead



NEW ALBANY, Ohio -- Leta Lindley was befuddled by her career-best 64 on Friday in the opening round of the Wendy's Championship for Children.

"I'm not used to having to account for this many birdies," she said.

Lindley matched the course record while taking a one-stroke lead, getting off to a fast start in the 54-hole sprint.

The short-hitting Lindley - who averages 226 yards off the tee to rank 163rd on the LPGA Tour in driving - zeroed in with her approach shots, including an 11-wood that she hit within a foot on the 12th hole.

The 29-year-old player started her round on the 10th hole and was just 1 under through 10 holes, but used strong putting to birdie seven of the last eight holes for a 7-under 29 on the front nine.

"I was going about it pretty nonchalant and hitting greens and making putts," she said. "Sometimes I can go on and on and not make anything, and then if I can make one putt then I start getting more confident and the others start to fall. That would describe my day today."

Overnight rains made the greens receptive, with most of the players taking advantage with aggressive shots at the pins at New Albany Country Club.

Her 8-under 64 left her a shot better than Wendy Ward, who also started on the 10th hole and closed her round the same as Lindley - with birdies on Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9.

"The greens are really soft," Ward said. "We came from the British Open last week where you're sometimes not even carrying the ball on the green. But here you can be really aggressive. I haven't played soft greens in a while, so it was fun to be able to actually get a yardage and not have to add another calculation about a release. You could just take it right to the pin."

Seventy-four players broke par and a total of 102 were at par or under.

Donna Andrews, Rosie Jones, Yu Ping Lin, Rachel Teske, Emilee Klein, Michelle McGann, Tracy Hanson and Audra Burks opened with 66s.

Jones' round included an eagle on the par-4 9th hole when she holed an 8 iron from 130 yards. Klein had nine birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey.

Karrie Webb, one of the few players near the lead who played in the afternoon, was joined at 67 by Annika Sorenstam. Also at 67 were Dottie Pepper, Leslie Spalding, Moira Dunn, Grace Park, Danielle Ammaccapane, Mary Kay Marino and Dodie Mazzuca.

"The greens were very receptive to shots," said Sorenstam, who won the inaugural tournament two years ago. "If it was playing 126 yards, you were hitting it 125. That's how close you can hit it to the pin."

Lindley, who hasn't won in her seven full years on tour, was at her best down the stretch. She hit a 9-wood to 30 feet from the cup on the second hole - her 11th - and then rolled in the winding, up-and-downhill putt.

On the next hole her 9-iron approach stopped 15 feet from the pin and she made that birdie putt as well. She hit another 30-footer at the 4th hole before her string of three birdies was broken by a par at the par-3 5th hole.

She chipped to 2 feet from the front of the green on the par-5 6th, then hit another 9-wood to 30 feet at the 7th and drained the putt. She closed the round with a pair of 6-foot birdie putts.

"Some days the hole looks bigger than on other days," Lindley said. "I think this is the best I've putted in a long time."

Se Ri Pak, who has won four times this season including last week's British Open, shot a 71. Defending champion Lori Kane had a 72.

Ward never had to work hard during her bogey-free 65. Only one of her seven birdies came on a putt longer than 8 feet.

"I really like this course. I've liked it from the minute I got here," she said. "You can even play smart and still make birdies."