Isabelle Beisiegel of Norman Okla., Jean Zedlitz of Pleasanton, Calif., Teresa Ishiguro of Ione, Calif., and Lori Atsedes of Ithaca, N.Y., all fired a 2-under-par 70 on the 6,122-yard Innsbrook course. Four others carded 1-under-par scores of 71 to trail the leaders by one shot in the Horseshoe Casino-presented event. That group included Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who blistered her back-nine holes with a 4-under 32. Others posting 71 were Ju Kim of Seoul, Korea, Canadian Kareen Qually of Olds, Alberta, and Reilley Rankin of Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Built in 1919, the tree-lined course played long from early-week rains and allowed no sub-70 scores in the opening round as temperatures dipped into the 50s with north winds from nearby Lake Michigan.
This is the kind of weather and these are the kind of small greens I grew up playing, said Beisiegel, a native of Quebec who played college golf at the University of Oklahoma.
Atsedes, who crossed the Indiana border at 2 AM Wednesday prior to Thursdays first round, never had a chance to play the course prior to her opening round. The non-exempt player on the LPGA Tour attempted to qualify for the LPGAs Corning Classic in New York on Monday. She missed qualifying for the LPGA tournament, then left New York late Tuesday afternoon and drove 10 hours to play in the $65,000 Futures Tour event.
Thats a first, said Atsedes, 39, who has divided time between the LPGA and Futures tours since 1993. Ive never played in a golf tournament in which I had not seen the course before I played it.
That little technicality turned out to be a moot point for Atsedes, who recorded five birdies, three bogeys and 28 putts for her effort on Innsbrooks small, quick greens.
Im glad to give myself a chance to be in better striking distance, said Rankin, the former All-American at the University of Georgia who is still looking for her first professional win. I havent exactly started out tournaments well and Ive had to make up a lot of ground on the last day.
Four other players were deadlocked at even-par 72. Jennifer Huber of Dallas, Texas, Meredith Duncan of Shreveport, La., Heather Stirling of Stirling, Scotland and Russy Gulyanamitta of Rayong, Thailand all are within two shots of the lead.
I scrambled really well today and got a couple of lucky breaks, said Stirling, 26, who turned pro in November 2002. The Scot finished her round birdie-birdie-eagle-bogey with a chip-in eagle from 25 yards on the 17th hole.