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Kane Leads LPGA Lid-Lifter

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Lorie Kane fired a 9-under 61 Thursday to take the lead after the opening round of the Welch's/Fry's Championship. Kane, a four-time winner on the LPGA Tour, finished one shot clear of Tonya Gill and A.J. Eathorne.
 
Beth Bader, Pat Hurst and Young Kim finished two shots off the lead at 7-under-par 63.
 
Conditions were perfect for scoring during the first round at Dell Urich Golf Course and Kane used a late run of birdies to surge into the lead.
 
'I'm glad to be back at work and I was really nervous on the first tee and I think that that's probably a good thing,' said Kane. 'The nerves were good and it just set me up for a good day.'
 
Kane ran home a 40-foot putt for an eagle at the par-5 third and tallied birdies at the sixth and the ninth to make the turn at minus-4.
 
'I think eagling the third hole of the season was a good way to start the day off,' said Kane.
 
At the par-4 14th, Kane hit a 9-iron within 10 feet to ignite her run to the top of the leaderboard. She birdied the 15th and made it three in a row with a birdie at the 16th.
 
Kane continued the stretch with a birdie at the 17th to tie Gill for the lead and converted a 20-foot putt for a birdie at the last to take sole possession of first.
 
'I have been waiting a long time to get back to work and back to playing,' said the Canadian. 'I'm feeling quite comfortable with things. Everything is just coming together. I figure there are a lot of other great Canadians playing well. I should join the group.'
 
Gill was on fire early with four birdies on the front nine. She birdied the 10th and drained an 18-footer at the following hole to reach 6-under.
 
At the par-4 16th, Gill dropped a 9-iron inside 14 feet for a birdie and rolled in a 15-foot putt for a birdie at the par-3 17th to complete a bogey-free 62, her career best on the LPGA Tour.
 
'I hit it real solid today,' said Gill. 'I didn't really knock down the flag, but my putting was real solid. There is a lot of golf to be played still, but it is a nice first round. It is a nice way to begin the year.'
 
Meg Mallon, Deb Richard, Marnie McGuire and Christina Kim finished tied for seventh at 6-under-par 64.
 
Helen Alfredsson, who won this event in 1998, was in a group at 5-under-par 65 that includes Grace Park and Laura Davies.
 
Laura Diaz, who earned her first career victory on the LPGA Tour at this event last year, struggled on Thursday. She had two bogeys and one birdie for a round of 1-over 71.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Welch's Fry's Championship
  • Full coverage of the Welch's Fry's Championship