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Inkster Falls Short of Catching Leaders

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Early in the day A.J. Eathorne and Cindy Figg-Currier set the benchmark by posting scores of 3-under-par 67. Juli Inkster took notice and did her best to match, if not surpass, that mark.
 
Inkster was the afternoon story at the U.S. Womens Open, but unfortunately for her, she finished at 2-under-par 68.
 
The 40-year-old, who holds one Open title to her name (1999), recorded an inspirational birdie on the 481-yard par-5 1st. Birdies on the 451-yard par-4 10th and the 200-yard par-3 13th left the Los Altos, Ca. resident tied for the lead with five holes to play.
 
Inkster held her place until the par-4 17th where she made bogey to fall one off the lead.
 
'Well, I played ' I thought I played very conservative today,' Inkster said. 'I didnt really feel that overly confident with my swing. Ive had my teacher with me the last few days and weve been working on some things.
 
The winner of 26 LPGA Tour titles has earned $477,692 in the 21 Womens Opens she has participated in and has missed only six cuts since 1978. She finished in the Top-3 two times, once after losing a playoff to Patty Sheehan in 1992; as well as recording two Top-5 finishes and three Top-10 finishes.
 
Inkster, decked out in RITZ Cracker logos, isnt sure why she plays so well in majors. I dont know, I just ' I like how tough the golf courses play. I think youve really got to use all the clubs in your bag with majors. So I dont know why, I think maybe I focus better or something.
 
It was a successful day for 13-year-old Morgan Pressel, anyway you look at it. The child prodigy did not finish dead last, as she had expected. Instead, after birdieing the last hole, Pressel finished with a 7-over-par 77 and ahead of nine other amateurs.
 
The day started on the right foot with a par on the first two holes. For Pressel, the beginning of the end came on the 134-yard par-3 3rd after an errant shot into the pine needles left her carding her first, and unfortunately not her last, bogey of the day. Pressel didnt have a spectacular day of golf from a statistical point of view but she did have fun.
 
I was nervous starting offyou would be surprised how far a 3-foot putt looks in the Open.
 
The Florida native showcased her spectacular short game and well-beyond-her-years demeanor in front of a healthy and supportive gallery.
 
I had a good time, Pressel said visibly fighting back tears after her round. I still have another day. If I play better Id be very, very happy.'
 
I thought 18 would never come, Pressel said holding a Ben & Jerrys Cookie Dough ice cream bar. The last shot was the best part. It felt good finishing with a birdie.
 
Karrie Webb finished at even-par 70. She made 14 pars, two birdies and two bogeys during the first round to finish in exactly the same position as her rival Annika Sorenstam.
 
Twenty-two-year-old Stephanie Keever was the only amateur to break 70 in the first round. Keever, one of the 20 amateurs in the field, recorded a first-round score of 1-under-par 69. The Stanford sociology major will start the second day one stroke ahead of both Sorenstam and Webb.
 
Amateur Brenda Corrie Kuehn, 8-months pregnant with her doctor/husband on the bag, completed the first round at 9-over-par.
 
Kuehn suffered a cramp in her right foot on the 14th as well as a bout with Braxton-Hicks contractions.
 
I could feel it coming, but I was kind of too embarrassed to back out and start again. They come all the time. Its no big deal to me.
 
On the first tee Kuehn learned that her playing partner, Jennifer Greggain, was also pregnant. It was so nice to see somebody else pregnant.
 
Full-field scores from the U.S. Women's Open