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Kane and Mallon lead Arch Wireless Championship

It's an impressive field to begin with - featuring a $100,000 purse. To top it off, you couldn't have asked for two nicer players to lead the first round of the Arch Wireless Championship.
 
Lorie Kane and Meg Mallon both shot 5-under-par Thursday to finish tied for the lead. Kane, paired with Pat Hurst, played in the group ahead of Mallon shooting 1-under-par through the front nine and then picking up the pace on the back.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Mallon, Kane, Sorenstam & Pepper comment on 1st Rd.
 
A string of four birdies beginning on the 12th and ending on the 15th moved her up the leaderboard and into the lead at 5-under-par as she made her way back to the Legends Club House.
 
On the 17th, the Prince Edward Island Native would loose an important stroke, dropping back behind Mallon. While this was going on, Mallon had been busy making her own run and putting the pressure on Kane. At one point on the front nine Mallon reached 2-under-par - then an untimely bogey on the 9th would move her back to 1-under.
 
It was on the backside that Mallon exerted her prowess. Like Kane, Mallon made birdies on the 12th, 13th and 15th holes - then proceeded to make birdie on the 16th to tie Kane for the lead.
 
'I bogeyed number nine,' Mallon said while going over her round. 'Two-putt - oh, I hit a pitch shot a little too far about 15 feet away and 2-putted from there. Then I came back and chipped in on 12, it was about 15 feet with a pitching wedge then I hit it right in. 15, chipped in again. About 30 feet away.'
 
' Then on 16, I hit -- what did I hit, I hit a sand wedge, the par 5, I hit a sand wedge to, about, let's call it eight feet and made that for birdie,' she continued. 'Then I pared in.'
 
With Mallon on her heals, Kane made a quick recovery birdie on the 18th to finish at 5-under-par and tied for the lead.
 
'There's still a long way to the finish line,' Kane said. 'But I'm definitely ahead of the game, I think and I know that I'm quite confident here. I've played this golf course a lot. I just live -- I have a place just down the road in Titusville, so if I come up here to practice, which I do quite a bit when we're off, I play that course, Champions.'
 
Mallon, unable to pull another birdie out of her hat, finished the day with par-par to end at 5-under.
 
'I'm playing a new golf course I had never played in competition. Didn't know what to expect,' Mallon said. 'Obviously, it worked out really well. I hit it in the right places and didn't make any bad mistakes today, which you can do on this course, if you don't hit it well. That's why I like it.'
 
Just one stroke off the lead is Leta Lindley, Dottie Pepper, and Annika Sorenstam. All three players shot 4-under-par.
 
Brandie Burton, Sophie Gustafson and Grace Park are a mere two-strokes off the lead while Laura Davies, Kelli Kuehne and Charlotta Sorenstam are three-strokes back.
 
There are three days of rigorous competition left in this race and at this point it's certainly too close to call. One thing is for sure - Juli Inkster is going to have to play a lot better than she did Thursday to catch the leaders. Inkster shot 6-over-par in the first round.
 
She was not the only competitor that didn't break par. In virtually windless conditions, that should have been kind to play, eleven of the 30 competitors shot over-par scores Thursday.
 
Karrie Webb was a surprise victim; finishing tied with defending champion Se Ri Pak it 3-over-par.
 
'I had two of the crappiest rounds, especially in the pro-am,' Webb said Wednesday with a chuckle. 'That's normally a good sign for me.'
 
'I do like this course,' Webb admitted. 'It's fairly new, and I think the layout is a lot more appealing to the eye compared to the other one.'
 
Missing in action is Cristie Kerr who withdrew Wednesday morning due to a knee injury. Kerr was replaced with Catriona Matthew - #32 on the money list. Matthew finished the first round tied at 1-under-par and no doubt thrilled she is in the field.