Fruhwirth Early Leader at Windy Nabisco


RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- The 31st annual Kraft Nabisco Championship got underway beneath blue skies and temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s.
Amy Fruhwirth, who finished tied for 3rd in the 1997 Nabisco, may be the player to beat Thursday. As the first half of the field makes their way off the course, Fruhwirth is the early co-leader. The 10-year veteran shot 2-under-par 70 Thursday morning in spite of wind gusts of 15 mph. She is tied with Gloria Park.
The wind is steadily increasing throughout the day, making it questionable whether anyone in the later groups will be able to out do her efforts.
I just went out there and tried to put the ball in the hole, the California native said. My game felt solid.'
Fruhwirth was 3-under through the 171 yard, par-3 17th before recording bogey on the 18th. That was her second bogey of the day ' a day in which she managed four birdies under championship conditions.
The event has special meaning for Fruhwirth who grew up in Orange County. I used to come here with my parents and play. Every time Ive played, its always been such a thrill.
A sun sensitive Fruhwirth sported a wide-brim straw hat and long-sleeve shirt throughout her round but it didnt seem to hinder her play. And although its early in the game, she is already looking forward to the possibilities Sunday may offer.
For Fruhwirth its not a question of whether she will jump into the lake on 18 ' its a question of whether she will have that opportunity. If I am the winner, my whole family and I are going to jump into the lake.
LPGA veteran Betsy King managed to record a 1-under 71 during the first round. King is one of sixteen 40+ -year-old players in the field this week.
In the clubhouse at 1-over for the day are Mhairi Mckay and Akiko Fukushima.
Fukushima played the course slow and steady making the turn at 1-under after a brief flirtation with 2-under. She temporarily reclaimed the early morning lead at minus 2 with a solid birdie on the par-5, 492-yard 11th and was quickly matched by Deb Richard who was playing in the group behind her.
That was an important birdie for both players. The 11th hole requires an accurate drive in order to be in a good position for the tricky pin placements in place for this championship. Unfortunately, both Fukushima and Richard fell off the leaderboard, unable to remain in the red.
The Big 3 are now all on the course.
Se Ri Pak jump-started her round with an eagle on the 504-yard, par-5 second but was unable to hold onto her momentum making the turn at 1-over-par. Karrie Webb matched Pak at the turn and Annika Sorenstam ' just a few holes into her round ' made birdie on the 2nd.
Full-field scores from the Kraft Nabisco Championship