Pak Leads in Korea


JEJU ISLAND, South Korea -- Se Ri Pak shot a seven-under 65 Friday to take a commanding lead after the first round of the Sports Today CJ Nine Bridges Classic. Pak finished four shots ahead of Jackie Gallagher-Smith and Cristie Kerr.
Carin Koch posted a two-under 70 to finish fives shots back alongside Jill McGill, Mhairi McKay, Nancy Scranton, Lorie Kane and Mi Hyun Kim.
Pak gave local fans plenty to cheer about with a performance that put her well ahead of the pack. The Korean, who was partnered with Kane and Annika Sorenstam Friday, collected eight birdies to go along with one bogey at The Club at Nine Bridges.
'I think playing with Annika was a big reason that I did so well,' said Pak, who captured the Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. 'Because she is such a good player, I'm always really focused and nervous when I play with her.'
Pak is seeking her fifth victory of 2002.
Sorenstam, who is trying to become the first player since Kathy Whitworth in 1968 to win 10 times in a single season on the LPGA Tour, did not fair as well. The Swede managed a one-over 73 to finish eight shots off the lead.
'It was a long day,' said Sorenstam. 'I didn't play very well unfortunately, but it's the first day. Se Ri played excellent so it was a lot of fun.'
Dorothy Delasin carded a one-under 71 to finish in a tie for 10th. Delasin was joined by Silvia Cavalleri, Joanne Morley, Il Mi Chung, Donna Andrews and Catriona Matthew.
Kathryn Marshall, Kim Saiki, Emilee Klein, Danielle Ammaccapane, Heather Bowie and Hee-Won Han are knotted at even-par 72.
This is the first year of the tournament. The event was scheduled to debut in 2001 but was cancelled following the recently initiated military action by the United States and its allies following the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
This is the first time an LPGA tournament has been held in Korea since 1997. The event is the first of three straight Asian tournaments on the LPGA Tour.