Kerr Leads as Play Suspended

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2006 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- Cristie Kerr fired a 7-under-par 65 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead with one round of the inaugural Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open suspended due to darkness.
 
The start of the round was delayed one hour and darkness halted play for the night at 7:58 p.m. EDT. The round will resume Friday at 7:15 a.m. and the second round will begin as scheduled at the same time.
 
Cristie Kerr
Cristie Kerr is looking for her first victory of the season.
Laura Diaz, playing just her fourth event of the season after giving birth in January, posted a 5-under-par 67. Diaz, who has missed the cut in her first three starts, shares second with Lorena Ochoa, who won the LPGA Takefuji Classic two weeks ago. Reigning Rookie of the Year Paula Creamer and Tracy Hanson share fourth place at minus-3.
 
Women's World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam opened with an even-par 72 with three birdies and three bogeys. She stands in a tie for 25th.
 
'I felt good coming into the round. I was hitting the ball really well,' Sorenstam stated. 'I didn't really get off to the start I had in mind. I had difficulty scoring and then on the back nine, the wind picked up and it got really difficult.'
 
However, the story this week is 13-year-old Dakota Dowd. The youngster was given a sponsor's exemption into the event so she could fulfill a wish of her mother, who is terminally ill with cancer.
 
Playing alongside veterans Hanson and Kate Golden, Dowd opened with a birdie on No. 10, her first hole. She slipped to a bogey at the next though.
 
'It made everything go a lot easier,' Dowd said of the birdie. 'It just made me a little bit more confident and made me breathe a little bit easier.'
 
Dowd slipped to plus-1 with a bogey on the par-4 14th at Reunion Resort & Club. She ran off 12 consecutive pars from there. However, Dowd stumbled to a bogey on the par-5 ninth to close with a 2-over-par 74. She is currently tied for 55th place.
 
'I settled down around the 18th hole. I was nervous the whole entire time basically,' Dowd admitted. 'The girls were making me feel at ease. It all was just a great experience.'
 
As for Kerr, she played in the final threesome off the 10th tee in the morning and played alongside Creamer and Sorenstam. Kerr got up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the par-5 10th to open her round.
 
She dropped in a pair of 5-foot birdie putts, on 12 and 15, to get to minus-3. Kerr pitched her third at the par-5 17th to 12 feet and drained that putt for another birdie.
 
Around the turn, Kerr sank a 15-footer for birdie on the first to move to 5 under. After parring her next five holes, Kerr converted a 10-footer for birdie at the seventh. She capped her round by running in a 25-footer for birdie at the ninth, her last, to end two clear of the field.
 
'I played very, very well today. I hit it well and thought my way around the golf course well,' Kerr said. 'Seven birdies and no bogeys kind of speaks for itself.'
 
Diaz mixed seven birdies and two bogeys over her round, while Ochoa posted five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle to share second place.
 
Beth Daniel, Amy Hung, Mi Hyun Kim, Ai Miyazato and Stacy Prammanasudh each posted rounds of 2-under-par 70. They share sixth place with Karine Icher, who is minus-2 through 16 holes of the opening round.
 
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