Hurst Shoots Career-Low 63 for ShopRite Lead


Pat Hurst fired her career-low round of 8-under-par 63 Friday to set the pace after 18 holes of the ShopRite LPGA Classic near Atlantic City. Her opening score, which also tied the course record at the Seaview Marriott Bay Course, left her two shots clear of the 65s posted by Dina Ammaccapane, Lorie Kane and two-time ShopRite winner Betsy King.
'I have been working a lot on putting and that helped a lot,' said Hurst, who needed only 22 putts in round one. 'I putted extremely well out there and only one three-putt.'
A 30-foot chip-in for eagle at the third set the tone for Hurst, who tacked on three birdies by the turn to make her way out in 5-under 31. Birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 18 enabled her to match the course record set by Se Ri Pak in 1999 and equaled by Maria Hjorth last year.
Check out Hurst's scorecard!
Hurst's iron play played as big a role as her putting, as all six of her birdies were holed from inside 10 feet.
'You can hit a lot of wedges in and that give you birdie opportunities,' she said. 'You have to give yourself the chances you know to make the birdies out there.'
Hurst, who finished second here a year ago after closing with her previous best score of 64, is looking to make up for some missed opportunities from earlier this season.
After getting off to a great start at the season's first major, the Nabisco Championship, Hurst shot a pair of 74s over the weekend to tie for ninth. Three weeks later at the Office Depot event in Los Angeles, Hurst entered the final round with a three-shot lead, then extended her advantage to six with 10 holes to play. But she fell apart on her way in and wound up finishing one shot out of a playoff between Annika Sorenstam and Mi Hyun Kim.
'You know, L.A. very disappointing to me, you know to let that one go, I gave it away, but that is just part of the game,' Hurst said. 'Aggressive is the only way I play and in L.A., I was not playing aggressive and I let that one get away from me. I feel aggressive again and know how to play.'
King, the champion of this event 1987 and '95, started on the 10th and carded six birdies by the turn for a 29 -- tying her own ShopRite record for nine holes set in 1999. She was marching toward the 18-hole mark with birdies at the third and fifth holes, but an errant drive at the ninth led to a double-bogey six.
Disappointing finish aside, King was pleasantly surprised with the final result on Friday.
'If you told me I would shoot 6-under, I wouldnt have thought that,' said King, who qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame with her '95 victory here. 'I didnt really think I was striping it any better on the range, other times youre not sure, today I didnt have any indication of what I was going to shoot.'
Carin Koch, who notched her breakthrough win at the Corning Classic last month, shot 5-under 66 to join Jen Hanna, Terry-Jo Myers and Angela Stanford in fifth place.
Defending champion Janice Moodie stands seven shots off the pace after turning in a 1-under 70.
Full-field scores from the ShopRite LPGA Classic