Pak Leads Longs


Se Ri Pak remained the leader of the Longs Drugs Challenge as the last putt dropped during the first round. Paks 6-under-par 66 held strong as afternoon players faced dropping temperatures and an hour and a half delay.
Se Ri is ripe for another win this season. In spite of being cut last week, she has been playing superb golf this season. I did a lot to get ready for this year. I wasnt playing well and I decided to get ready for 2001, Pak said in much improved English.
I got a new coach and a new partner, my caddie, Colin Cann, and I wanted to make myself more confident. I didnt want to push myself, because I knew I could play better. I was mentally tired with the pressure I put on myself, but the big point was that I needed a new coach. I have learned so many things with a new coach, new caddie. We dont have much time to practice in the time off, but I worked hard.
Last Friday, I didnt putt well at all. The greens were really bumpy; the balls were jumping everywhere. I dont like to have putts like that. This week is better and I have more confidence.
Michele Redman, having played in the morning as well, came closest to Paks round with a first round score of 4-under-par 68. Ive had some rounds here that arent the best, Redman said after her round on Thursday. But Ive learned to play really smart. You have to be able to hit fairways and greens, and there are a lot of times that you cant go for the pin. You have to be on your game. Theres no hole'I mean there are a couple of tough holes in a row, so you cant stop thinking.
Redman has missed one cut this season as well as finishing in the top ten four times. Just last week she recorded her best finish of the season by finishing fourth. To me, really the last four or five weeks, Ive tried to work on my emotional skills, trying not to get too up or too down. Im trying to look a lot less at the leader boards and play my own gamekind of like I did last week. I got up on the 18th tee and didnt know where I was [on the leader board]. Im out here to play the golf course. Yes, Im competing against 143 other people, but I cant let what they do dictate my game.
Defending champion Juli Inkster shot 7-over-par 79 after making bogey on the last.
Annika Sorenstam didnt have much luck on the last nine holes of the day. After making the turn at 2-over-par, Ms. 59 played the front side at 1-under to finish the day tied for 31st at 1-over-par 73.
Five players withdrew from competition this week.
Kristal Parker had an illness in the family and was replaced with Hee Won Han while Wendy Dooland suffered an injury prior to her first round. Connie Masterson filled in for Dooland.
Terry-Jo Myers Kim Bauer and Dale Eggeling all withdrew during play yesterday. Myers suffered from back spasms, Eggeling incurred a knee injury. It is unknown why Bauer withdrew after competing nine-holes.
Todays weather forecast is dismal. Players are scheduled to tee off at 7:30 AM PT though there is some discussion of delays. Heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning may be prohibitive.
UPDATE AS OF 11:30 AM EST: Today's round is on a two hour delay. At 9:30 AM local time, LPGA TOUR Rules Officials will determine if play is possible. Currently one front is moving through and a larger system is following. Check in to TGC's live broadcast at 1 PM EST for further updates on conditions.
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