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Inkster leads while Annika struggles

Ricoh WomenSUNNINGDALE, England ' Juli Inkster had the opening round Annika Sorenstam was hoping for at the Womens British Open, a bogey-free 7-under 65 that left the 48-year-old American one shot ahead of the field.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam studies a putt during her opening-round 72. (Getty Images)
While Sorenstam struggled to a 72 in what the Swede says is her final major before she quits tournament golf at the end of the season to start a family, Inkster went out among the earliest in the field to shoot an eagle and five birdies. Her 65 matched the lowest opening round at any Womens British Open.
Inkster, whose last major title was the 2002 Womens U.S. Open, is a stroke ahead of seven players ' Ji-Yai Shin, Ji Young Oh, Yuri Fudoh, Momoko Ueda, Jo Head, Laura Diaz and Stacy Prammanasudh. Defending champion Lorena Ochoa was three strokes behind.
Inksters opening round gives her a realistic hope of becoming the oldest winner of a major and the second player to complete a career Super Slam.
Thats the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship, U.S. Open, British Open and the now defunct du Maurier, a combination only Karrie Webb has completed. Not even Sorenstam can do that because she missed out on the du Maurier.
A victory in Sunningdale also would mean that Inkster would have gone a womens record 24 years between her first major ' the 1984 Kraft Nabisco and du Maurier ' and her last. Jack Nicklaus went 24 years between his first and last majors ' the 1962 U.S. Open and 1986 Masters.
While Sorenstams decade of domination has brought 10 majors and 72 tournament victories, the product of a fiercely competitive nature and ability to grind out results, Inkster said her own longevity reflects something else.
I always thought I would play about five years and have a couple of kids and retire, said Inkster, a mother of two teenagers. Im kind of unique. I really love the game and I go out and play for fun. I think (with) Annika its a lot of hard work. Every time she tees it up shes expected to win. Her work ethic is just grind, grind, work out, hit balls.
I dont think Annika could come out here and finish 15th on the money list and live with herself. Me, Im OK with that. I enjoy what I do. I love playing golf but its not the end of the world for me.
Inkster acknowledged she was getting close to retirement.
I play 16 to 18 tournaments a year and get the rest off, she said. And I like what I do so I just play. Im not sure that Im going to play next year but I have plans to finish out this year and then Im going to re-evaluate and see. But Im getting close.
Prammanasudh twice was tied with Inkster at 7 under but each time she drew even she followed with bogeys at Nos. 15 and 17.
At one stage, Sorenstam was 3 over after bogeys at three of the first six holes. She finally birdied the ninth, picked up more shots after the turn, but is still seven strokes behind the leader.
I was looking forward to a wonderful day, but Ive never made as many bogeys as I have the last three months and its driving me crazy, Sorenstam said. I dont know what to do. Its so disappointing that I cant post something low. It seems like I cant play 18 holes.
Ochoa birdied the first two holes and was 5 under after 15. But two bogeys toward the end of her round left her at 69.
On the 17th tee, I got really mad, a bad drive off the tee and I didnt hit a good chip, said Ochoa, whose triumph at St. Andrews a year ago was her first major. But the rest, I have no complaints. I think the first day Im not worried.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ricoh Women's British Open
  • Full Coverage - Ricoh Women's British Open