Weather was a mixed bag for most of the first round. Light rain yielded to partly cloudy skies in the morning. By mid-day, winds kicked up and made scoring more difficult. A storm cell blew into the area by late afternoon, suspending play at 6:56 PM. Play resumed at 7:29 PM, but a second suspension took place at 7:56 PM. Play never resumed again and was finally called at 8:12 PM.
One player in the morning round took advantage of scoring conditions in the calm of morning. Katie Bakken of Minneapolis fired a 5-under-par 67 to grab the early lead.
After missing the last three tournament cuts, Bakken knew she had to do something. So when she missed playing last Sundays final round in Indiana, she boarded a plane and headed to Florida to visit her swing coach.
Ive been getting way ahead of myself -- thinking so much about the future and trying to get into the LPGA, said Bakken, 24, a second-year Futures Tour player. I needed to start thinking correctly on the golf course. I needed to think more about where I am right now.
Bakken discussed her mental game with coach Adam Harrell at the Jim McLean Academy in Westin, Fla. They worked on her short game, her long game, her putting and her focus. And when she took the first-round lead, Bakken was pleased to make a phone call back to Florida to report on the outcome of their efforts.
I called my coach and said, It worked, said Bakken, who holds a two-shot lead in the clubhouse at Ironwood Golf Course.
What worked for Bakken was everything. She scored her first career hole-in-one on the 170-yard fourth hole with a grip 5-iron, which helped her post a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine with 11 putts. She added four birdies and a single bogey for the round, which included 25 putts and five par saves ' one save coming on the par-4 12th hole where her drive kicked into a water hazard.
What I got today was an increased confidence in my ability to stay in the present and to play one shot at a time, said the former University of Minnesota player. I tried to think of my favorite Bible verse in Proverbs that says, Fix your gaze directly before you. Thats what Im trying to do.
Lisa Penske-Jensen of Bethlehem, Pa., was the only other player to shoot in the 60s with a 3-under-par 69 on the 6,114-yard, par-72 course. The fifth-year Futures Tour player, who spent part of the 2002 season rebuilding her swing with a new instructor, hit 14 greens on the course at the same event where she recorded her career-best finish for fourth place in 2001. I love this golf course, she said.
Ju Kim of Seoul, Korea shot a 70 (-2) to continue her momentum from last week. I feel good right now and I just try to keep myself comfortable, said Kim, who finished third at last weeks Northwest Indiana Futures Golf Classic. My irons and short game are pretty good.
Kim is tied for third with Nadine Ash of Richards Bay, South Africa and Marianne Morris of Middletown, Ohio at 2-under 70.
Caroline Goasguen of Montpellier, France and recently-turned professional Katherine Hull of Queensland, Australia, who played college golf for Pepperdine University in last weeks NCAA Division I Womens Golf Championship, had the benefit of playing in the first group off today. Both players opened with a 1-under-par 71 and are tied for sixth with Isabelle Beisiegel of Norman, Okla., who played in the afternoon.
This years $70,000 Health Care Futures Charity Golf Classic visits Wisconsin for the eighth year and is in its third staging at Ironwood Golf Course.
Full coverage of the Aurora Health Care Futures Charity Golf Classic