Surprise leader at Bell Micro LPGA Classic


LPGA Tour _newMOBILE, Ala. – Azahara Munoz shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Katherine Hull and Jee Young Lee in the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, the LPGA's first event since Erica Blasberg was found dead.

Munoz, the former Spanish amateur star had a bogey-free round on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex.

Blasberg died Sunday in suburban Las Vegas and her agent said she had been all set to attempt to qualify for the field at Magnolia Grove. Police have not said if they suspect foul play. The coroner said a ruling on a cause of death was pending blood and tissue tests that could take four to six weeks to complete.

Cristie Kerr, Meena Lee, Janice Moodie and Hye Jung Choi shot 67s, and Suzann Pettersen, Eunjung Yi, Sun Young Yoo and Amanda Blumenherst opened with 68s.

Jiyai Shin, No. 1 in the world ranking following Lorena Ochoa’s retirement two weeks ago after the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico, had a 70.

Japanese star Ai Miyazato, the Tres Marias winner for her third victory in the first five events this season, also opened with a 70. Michelle Wie shot a 72.

The tournament wasn’t played in 2009 because of course renovation work. In September 2008 at Magnolia Grove, Angela Stanford beat Shanshan Feng by a stroke.

Stanford shot a 70 on Thursday.