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Creamer Shares Top Spot in Hawaii

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2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Coming off a winless season, Paula Creamer wants to add a trophy to her collection as soon as possible.
 
The 20-year-old star put herself in position to do just that Thursday, shooting a 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with rookie Paige Mackenzie and Sherri Steinhauer in the LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open.
 
'I worked really hard this offseason. I want to win,' Creamer said.
 
Natalie Gulbis
Natalie Gulbis is one shot back of the leaders. (Wire Images)
She is seeking her first win since 2005 when she won twice, finished second on the money list and earned rookie of the year honors. Last season, Creamer had 14 top-10 finishes, including a second-place tie in the LPGA Tournament of Champions.
 
'It was one of those years where my expectations were incredibly high and I kind of put pressure on myself,' said Creamer, who earned $1,076,163 last season to set an LPGA record for the most earnings in a season without a victory.
 
She was steady all day with a bogey-free round, displaying a strong iron game and making a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to reach 5 under.
 
Creamer said can't believe it's her third year on tour.
 
'Twenty years old and feeling like a veteran,' she said.
 
The surf was up but the wind stayed down, leaving several players jostling for position on the Palmer Course. Waves as high as 15 feet pounded Oahu's stunning North Shore.
 
Julieta Granada, the winner of the season-ending ADT Championship, was a stroke back at 68 along with Natalie Gulbis, Sung Ah Yim and Wendy Ward. The group at 69 included Morgan Pressel, Juli Inkster, Yu Ping Lin, Janice Moodie, Irene Cho, Alena Sharp, Hee-Won Han and Stacy Prammanasudh.
 
In addition to winning the season-ender, Granada teamed with Celeste Troche to give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title last month in South Africa.
 
The $1 million paycheck from ADT was the biggest in tour history and pushed Granada's rookie season total to a record $1.6 million, breaking Creamer's 2005 mark of $1.5 million.
 
Granada said she saved most of the money, but treated herself to a Range Rover.
 
'We can't spend it all in a day,' said Granada, who posted seven top-10 finishes last year.
 
In her first start as an LPGA Tour member, Mackenzie opened on No. 10 and made the turn at even-par before birdieing five of her last nine holes.
 
The former University of Washington star earned her tour card by tying for 12th at Q-school. She wasn't nervous until seeing her name on top of the leaderboard while walking to the green on the last hole.
 
'My heart started beating faster,' she said. 'Then I birdied so maybe I need to scoreboard watch more often.'
 
On the 376-yard second hole, Mackenzie hit a 7-iron into the wind that left her with a 23-foot birdie putt that broke 3 feet to the right before dropping in the cup.
 
The only thing that took her out of her rhythm was a bee during her drive on No. 16. The shot sailed 30 yards right of the green and Mackenzie punched out of the rough, but failed to get up and down to save par.
 
'It was one of those big, black ones. They are kind of mean. It was scary,' said Mackenzie, who turned 24 on Feb. 8
 
Last year, she tied for 23rd in the Wendy's Championship, helped the U.S. team win the Curtis Cup and became the first player in Washington history to win the Pac-10 Championship individual title.
 
She recently moved from her hometown of Yakima, Wash., dubbed the 'Palm Springs of Washington,' to the real Palm Springs where she lives with her brother, Brock, who plays on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Steinhauer, who won the Women's British Open last year for her second career major, holed a wedge shot from 105 yards for eagle on the par-4 14th and made a 20-foot birdie put on the 18th to reach 5 under.
 
'It was a very steady first round. I'm happy with the start,' said the 44-year-old from Wisconsin.
 
Karrie Webb was at 70 and LPGA player of the year Lorena Ochoa was another stroke back in a group that included Cristie Kerr.
 
Big Island native Kimberly Kim, who last year became the youngest champion of the U.S. Women's Amateur at age 14, opened with a 73. Fellow amateur, 16-year-old Taylore Karle, was at 76.
 
Defending champion Joo Mi Kim struggled to a 5-over 77. Jennifer Rosales, the 2005 champion, was at 79 after a horrendous start that included two bogeys and two double bogeys in the first five holes.
 
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