Hurst leads again in Tennessee


Defending champion Pat Hurst grabbed the lead with a flawless round of eight-under-par 64 in Thursday's first round of the Electrolux USA Championship. Hurst's opening score tied for the lowest round of her career and left her one shot clear of Sherri Turner.
Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Mhairi McKay shot six-under 66s for a share of third place with Jill McGill. The American quintet of Caroline Blaylock, Tracy Hanson, Denise Killeen, Karen Weiss and Kellee Booth are next at minus-five.
Hurst posted four birdies on the front nine of the Ironhorse Course at The Legends Club of Tennessee, including a 18-footer at the sixth. After making the turn with a 10-foot birdie putt at the ninth, Hurst parred holes 10 through 13 before making her way in with birdies over four of the last five holes.
Hurst won last year's tournament with her husband and 11-month-old son in tow, making the final round, which fell on Mother's Day, one to remember. She has suffered some rough moments this season, however, so returning to the scene of her third career victory was just the medicine she needed.
'I just feel comfortable, and that is what is important,' said Hurst. 'I didnt have any negative thoughts, and the more positive thoughts I have, the better I play.'
Hurst can't be blamed for talk of negative thinking. The 31-year-old has put herself in position to win several times this season but fell from contention in the later rounds. She held the second-round lead at the Nabisco Championship -- the first LPGA major of the season -- but carded a pair of 74s over the weekend to drop back into a tie for ninth. Three weeks later, Hurst squandered a six-shot lead with 10 holes to play at The Office Depot.
Turner, who also has three titles to her name but hasn't hoisted a trophy since 1989, birdied six of the first 10 holes Thursday but missed a short par putt at the 15th to drop to five-under par. She rolled in back-to-back birdie putts from nine feet to cap her round of 65.
'I have been working so hard on my putting and it is now starting to pay off,' said Turner, who notched her first win at the 1988 LPGA Championship. 'You know you work hard and dont get a pay off, but then today I did.'
'I think its funny that I shot low today because I just changed caddies this week,' she added. 'Becky Iverson and I changed caddies. We switched for the week. We just have wanted to try it and in todays round I think I made every was a good solid putting day for me, and the only mistake today came with that one bogey I made.'
World No. 1 Karrie Webb, who successfully defended her title at the Nichirei Cup in Japan last weekend, turned in a four-under 68 for a share of 11th place with Iverson and four others. Although she has finished in the top-10 six times in seven starts on the LPGA Tour this season, Webb is still in search of her first victory.
The red-hot Annika Sorenstam, who has come out on top in five of her last six events, is among 12 players tied at minus-three.
Full-field scores from the Electrolux USA Championship