Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla., Wicoff of Hartford City, Ind., and Choi-Rogers, of Huntington Beach, Calif., all fired 5-under-par rounds of 67 on the 6,432-yard Hickory Point Golf Course. The opening round was suspended at 9:18 AM, with play resuming at 11:38 AM. The delay, along with rain-soaked course conditions, forced the last groups to begin their opening rounds at 4:40 PM. Twenty players will return at 7 AM. Saturday to complete the first round. Pairings will be reshuffled according to score with play beginning approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the first round.
'It was good to play early,' said Prammanasudh, a non-exempt member of the LPGA Tour who began her round at 8:40 AM. 'Patience is important on a day like today because you just dont know whats going to happen.'
Wicoff, also a non-exempt LPGA Tour member, used her experience with weather delays to stay focused. A member of the LPGA Tour since 1997, she improved her score by 10 strokes from last weeks disappointing final-round of 77 in Lima, Ohio. She was a first-round co-leader last week.
'Im tired of knocking, Im ready to kick that stupid door in,' said Wicoff, 29, who is still seeking her first professional win. 'Im like, Cmon, lets get in three good rounds. Lets keep playing steady.'
Wicoff hit 17 greens in the round for her share of the lead. Prammanasudh, who earned her first professional win in late April at the Fryes Chevrolet Classic in Wichita, Kan., recorded five birdies and no bogeys with 27 putts.
Choi-Rogers, 29, playing in her first Futures Tour season, used 22 putts and one chip-in from 30 feet to move into a share of the lead. It was the result of two significant swing changes that required a month off for the former UCLA player who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic swelling of the joints. She has made only three of six tournament cuts this season.
'It really is my second chance and not a lot of people get second tries,' said Choi-Rogers, who receives medical injections twice a week to keep her arthritic condition under control. 'Im very fortunate to compete again and Ill just keep plugging away.'
Lisa Strom of Huntersville, N.C., and Young Jo of Suwon, Korea, both fired opening rounds of 68, while Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., Tara Bateman of Phoenix, Ariz., Leigh Turner of Alpharetta, Ga., and Stephanie George of Myerstown, Pa., all posted scores of 69 in the tournament presented by Miles Chevrolet.
Currently twenty-seven players finished the first round under par with 38 players at par-72 or better in the Tours longest-running tournament, now in its 19th year.