Isabelle Beisiegel of Norman, Okla., Katherine Hull of Queensland, Australia, and Erika Wicoff of Hartford City, Ind., all took advantage of perfect scoring conditions today at the 6,007-yard Lost Creek Country Club course. Beisiegel used 24 putts, eight birdies and two bogeys to snatch the lead away from early-morning leader Debbie Harmon of Harrisburg, Pa., who fired a season-best 67. Kathryn Cusick of Jacksonville, Fla., also fired a first-round 67.
'This tournament is up for grabs,' said Beisiegel, a second-year Futures Tour pro who is still seeking her first professional win. 'I just stuck with my putting routine to set and attack, and it worked.'
Hull, a second-week professional who won last weeks tournament in Wisconsin in her first Futures appearance, followed up her stellar pro debut with a first-round 66 on the par-72 Ohio course. She finished strong with birdies on her last three holes, rolling in putts from five feet, eight feet and two feet.
'My last three rounds have been 71, 70 and 69, so I figured Id shoot a 68,' said Hull, who used 27 putts and hit 15 greens for her seven-birdie, one-bogey round. 'I guess my putter had other ideas.'
Wicoff, a non-exempt player on the LPGA Tour, made six birdies and no bogeys for a share of the lead, capitalizing on 28 putts and striping her irons well enough to hit 15 greens ' eight to within 15 feet.
'I left some putts out there today and thats good, because there are still some out there tomorrow,' said Wicoff, who grew up in Indiana five counties away from the tournament site. 'Ill take this score and run.'
Looking for something to turn her season around, Harmon considered writing top LPGA player Annika Sorenstams name on her glove. Admittedly 'soul searching' for most of this season, in which she has only made three tournament cuts and one paycheck in seven appearances, Harmon found herself thinking, 'What would Annika do?' That strategy helped her fire a season low.
'Annika has no fear and it takes no fear to make birdies,' said the 12-year Futuers Tour veteran.
Candy Hannemann of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Luciana Bemvenuti of Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Allie Blomquist of Afton, Minn., all shot rounds of 68. Blomquist was three-over par after four holes with a bogey on the third and a double-bogey on the fourth, but turned it around with birdies on her next five holes. Her round included two chip-ins and 25 putts.
Shooting three-under-par 69 were: Jennifer Huber of Dallas; Sasha Medina of Ponce, Puerto Rico; and Christel Tomori of Hilo, Hawaii.
Thirty-two players finished under par with 50 players recording scores at even par or better.