Sun, Sep 28, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Daniel leads Safeway Classic

LPGA Grace Park and Cristie Kerr were tied for second at 66. Sorenstam, who played in the same threesome as Daniel, was another stroke behind

AP , PORTLAND, OREGON

American Cristie Kerr plays a bunker shot on the 15th hole during the first round of the Safeway Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon, Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Beth Daniel shot a 10-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Safeway Classic and tie the course record set by defending champion Annika Sorenstam.

Daniel, who earlier this year became the oldest player to win on the LPGA Tour, birdied seven of the last nine holes Friday at the 6,327-yard Columbia Edgewater Country Club course.

"Everything just went right for me," said Daniel, who won the Canadian Women's Open in July at age 46 for her 33rd career title and first since 1995.

The LPGA Hall of Famer didn't have to putt from farther than 14 feet on her last four birdies of the round. Her first one of the day was a 36-footer on No. 6. It was her last putt on the 383-yard closing hole that gave her the most satisfaction, with Sorenstam watching Daniel tie the record she set last year.

"That last one was really sweet," Daniel said.

Sorenstam got off to a poor start. She hit the back of the green on the first hole to put herself within easy birdie range at about 15 feet, but she bogeyed after running her first putt well past the cup and missing the return.

Sorenstam began the second nine with a nearly perfect second shot on the 501-yard, par-5 10th that again was less than 15 feet from the pin. But she missed her eagle putt and her return for birdie rimmed the cup.

"Sometimes that happens but you can't dwell on those things," Sorenstam said.

She complained of feeling a little tired for the three-day tournament, but said the greens were some of the best she has played this year.

"When you have greens this pure, you're going to see some low scores," Sorenstam said.

She praised Daniel for her record-tying round.

"It's always good to play with someone that good to get the momentum going," Sorenstam said.

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