Kim Jumps Out Front

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Ladies Professional Golf AssociationNEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Mi Hyun Kim fired a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Big Apple Classic at Wykagyl Country Club.
 
Liz Earley and Silvia Cavalleri share second place at 4-under par.
 
Suzy Whaley, who will play with the men at the PGA Tour's Greater Hartford Open next week, shot a 2-under-par 69 to finish in a large group tied for 12th place.
 
'Today was fun, I hit the ball very well today,' said Whaley, a teaching professional from Connecticut. 'I didn't really make many mistakes and had a really good feel in the beginning of the round.'
 
The good feel might have started when the announcer introduced her at the first tee.
 
'Let's have a warm welcome and best wishes for next week for Suzy Whaley,' he said, which prompted the crowd to give her one of the largest ovations of the round.
 
'I get, 'You go girl,' a lot,' said Whaley. 'You can never hear that enough when you're out there playing.'
 
Whaley got her round going with a chip-in birdie at the third but dropped a stroke at the fifth when her 8-iron approach came up short of the green and she failed to save par.
 
She holed an eight-footer for birdie at the 12th but promptly gave back the stroke when she missed a five-foot par save at No. 14. Whaley took advantage of the two par-5s in her final four holes. She knocked a 7-wood in a greenside bunker at 15 but blasted to three feet to set up birdie. Once again she used her 7-wood at 18 and two-putted from 35 feet for birdie.
 
'I had a lot of opportunities to make more birdies,' said Whaley. 'I was happy with the way I played and I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I'm here to be competitive this week.'
 
Kim, who is 19th on the tour's money list, began on the back nine at Wykagyl wasted little time in breaking into red figures with a birdie at No. 11. She sank a 15-footer for birdie at the 14th but three-putted the 16th green for a bogey.
 
Kim reclaimed the lost stroke at 17 when she played a 7-iron to 20 feet and ran home the putt. She parred two holes around the turn but caught fire on her second nine.
 
At the par-3 second hole, Kim hit a 7-iron to two feet for a kick-in birdie. At the next par-3, the 197-yard fourth, Kim played a 7-wood to 20 feet and converted the birdie putt. Kim tallied her last birdie of the round at No. 6 when she drained an 18-footer from the fringe to claim sole possession of first place.
 
'When I started today, my goal was 2-under or 3-under,' said Kim, who has missed only six cuts since the start of the 1999 campaign . 'It was better, better than I thought and the short game is better than I thought, so I made a good score.'
 
Beth Daniel, who made history last week when she became the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history at the Canadian Women's Open, carded a 3-under 68. She is tied for fourth place with Julie Piers, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Emilee Klein, Carin Koch, Hee-Won Han, Pamela Kerrigan and Jamie Hullett.
 
Grace Park, who is second on the money list behind Annika Sorenstam, and Laura Diaz were part of the group tied with Whaley at minus-2.
 
Gloria Park, the 2002 champion, posted a 2-over-par 73.
 
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