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Trio of Top-Notch Talent Leads ADT

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --Frenchwoman Patricia Meunier-Lebouc took the early lead with her 3-under 69, but it was the trio of Meg Mallon, Annika Sorenstam and Se Ri Pak that had the rounds of the day at the season-endning ADT Championship. All recorded 5-under-par 67 to lead the field by two.
 
Being familiar with the course helps, Sorenstam said of her second visit to Trump International.
 
Knowledge, combined with balmy weather conditions, made it possible for 16 of the top 30 on the money list to record par or better during the first round.
 
The greens were very receptive today, Mallon said. The fairways, also, did not run out like they did last year because it was playing very hard and fast last year. With the amount of rain weve gotten in the last week, it was a lot softer. So it just opened up the golf course a lot compared to last year.
 
Despite the fact that Mallon was the benefactor of the still air on Thursday, she is hoping for some wind this weekend.
 
I think I shot, like, 68 the first round last year, Im not sure. And I like playing in the wind. Im a little sick like that. I like the challenge of it. I get very creative in the wind and I love playing in it, she said.
 
'If she wants wind, bring it on,' co-leader Sorenstam said.
 
Mallon recorded the first of five birdies on the par-5 third, and holed out her wedge shot from 89 yards on the 531-yard par-5 12th for eagle.
 
Started out on the first hole making a very good par. I had about a 16-footer for par and made that putt, Mallon said. I thought, 'Well, maybe that will spark a good round.'
 
She recorded bogey on the sixth after three-putting from 50 feet and again on the last.
 
I made a couple of mistakes, Mallon, winner of the Bank of Montreal Canadian Womens Open, said. 'I made a mistake off the tee box. And thats what makes this golf course so good. You make a mistake, you get penalized.
 
Pak almost withdrew Thursday morning. Suffering from a sore tooth, she made her way to the driving range where she proceeded to strain a muscle in her right wrist.
 
I almost pulled out, Pak said. My body was like tons of weight. I am very tired. Cant eat at all. Its hard to walk, hard to swing. This is the first time I felt it was difficult to play golf.
 
She looked so skinny and so pale, Sorenstam said of her playing partner. I told her that her shorts are falling down.
 
Pak made a late run at the lead with birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 16. She made me focus. I really wasnt expecting to play well today, Pak said of being paired with Sorenstam.
 
Pak, who was 6-under through the 17th, bogeyed the last to finish tied for the lead.

Meunier-Lebouc, who qualified for the event with her win at the State Farm Classic, recorded four birdies during her round to finish tied with Kelly Robbins, Lorie Kane, Rosie Jones, and Karrie Webb.
 
Wind was a factor during practice rounds, so Thursday's conditions really changed the course for the players.
 
At the beginning of the week, we played the really back, back tees on some of the holes, and today they moved it. And with the different wind, like on 18, you had to find out where you would play it,' Meunier-Lebouc said.
 
This is Meunier-Leboucs first look at Trump International. Despite last years tough conditions she was not intimidated. She faltered only once during her round, on the 369-yard par-4 16th, where she recorded bogey after missing a six-footer for par to three-putt.
 
If I keep playing the way I play, I could be in the top 10, 5, no problem. But with this tournament Im not the only one thinking that way, and Im just going to try to enjoy it.
 
Full-field scores from the ADT Championship

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