Strom Clubhouse Leader

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 8, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourMORGANTOWN, W.V. -- Summer thunderstorms once again took center stage in the opening round of this weeks Futures tournament -- the Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic. Players ran for cover when a thunderstorm rolled through at 12:45 PM. The nearly two-hour suspension lasted until 2:40 PM.
 
But once the morning rounds resumed at The Pines Country Club, Lisa Strom of Huntersville, N.C., emerged as the clubhouse leader at 6-under-par 66. Strom was soon shadowed by Reilley Rankin of Hilton Head Island, S.C., who fired a first-round 67 to remind Strom that she held a tenuous one-shot lead.
 
This course reminds me of Merrillville, said Rankin, of the Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville, Ind., where she won her first professional event in May. I wanted opportunities out here and this course gives you that.
 
Strom made the most of her opportunities on the hilly, tree-lined 6,276-yard course. She rattled in three birdies and 11 putts on her first nine holes, then rolled in three more birdies on her second nine ' two of which came after the storm delay. Perhaps more importantly, Strom rammed in seven par-saving putts that ranged from four to 20 feet in length.
 
I was putting like a maniac today, said Strom, who recorded 24 putts for the round. I was seeing the lines so well and my speed on the greens was really good.
 
Rankin jumped into position when she eagled her 17th hole, the par-4 eighth, when her 77-yard sand wedge approach hit behind the cup and spun back into the hole for a 2.
 
Anytime I can eagle out is good, said Rankin, who missed only three greens in her opening round.
 
Kylie Pratt of Mackay, Australia carded a 68 in the morning and was joined by Stephanie George of Myerstown, Pa., and Kathryn Cusick of Jacksonville, Fla., both firing 4-under-par rounds of 68 in the afternoon following the weather delay.
 
Recording rounds of three-under 69 were Futures Tour top money winner Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla., Russy Gulanamitta of Rayong, Thailand, Bo Mi Suh of Seoul, Korea, Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks of Little Chute, Wisc., Jordan Cherebetiu of Rapid City, S.D., and Natalie Wong of Montebello, Calif.
 
Seventeen players recorded scores of 2-under-par 70, with eight players tied at 71.
 
Play was suspended for darkness at 8:08 PM and will resume at 7 AM Saturday. Eighteen players with three holes to play will return to the course to finish. Upon completion of the first round, players will be re-paired according to score. The second round will begin at approximately 8:30 AM.
 
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