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Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis turn up the heat on the field, share lead at Kraft Nabisco Championship

They each shoot six-under-par 66 on a 100-degree day in the first round at Rancho Mirage.

March 31, 2011|By Diane Pucin
  • Stephen Dunn / Getty Images
Stephen Dunn / Getty Images (60562732.jpg )


That's how Brittany Lincicome described her six-under-par 66 Thursday in the first round of the $2-million Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Stacy Lewis described her afternoon of golf a little differently. Lewis actually made a bogey in the 100-degree heat and had to step up and make a six-foot putt to save that bogey. But then came a stretch of three straight birdies and so, like Lincicome, Lewis also shot a 66.

That puts the sometime roommates and frequent dinner companions together in the lead after the first round of the LPGA's first major of the season.

One shot behind Lincicome and Lewis are Sandra Gal, the German who won her first tournament last week at the Kia Classic, and Mika Miyazato of Japan. Gal and Miyazato shared the leaderboard in the morning after scoring 67s. Jane Park, who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga and played one season at UCLA, is another shot back at 68. She shares fifth place with Chie Arimura of Japan.

Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard

Defending champion and world No. 1 Yani Tseng is among a group of eight who shot two-under 70s. Also with a 70 is Morgan Pressel, who won here as an 18-year-old in 2007. Cristie Kerr, ranked third in the world, and Michelle Wie, who first played here as a 13-year-old in 2003, put themselves in danger of missing the cut that comes after Friday's second round.

Kerr had five bogeys and a double bogey on her way to a 78 that leaves her tied for 101st. Wie is tied for 54th after a 74.

Even as the temperature climbed and the greens became hard and fast, Lincicome and Lewis kept aiming aggressively at the pins.

"It was one of those days where I really didn't have to think too hard and everything just kind of came naturally," Lincicome said. "I probably only had two scary par saves. Other than that, it was really pretty easygoing and relaxing out there."

Lewis, who had a rod surgically implanted in her spine when she was 18 to correct a severe case of scoliosis, also appreciated the hot weather. Since her back sometimes troubles her in cold weather, Lewis didn't mind sweating.

Lincicome said the heat made the greens very firm. "I'm hoping they're going to put some water on them right after we got done because I would hate to lose them," she said. "[Some] of the greens were turning brown or even purple, which can't be good."

What can be good, said Lewis, a former All-American at the University of Arkansas, is the way her golf ball travels in hot weather. "I say bring the heat because the ball goes a mile. So I like it."

Friday's forecast?


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