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Wie fires best pro round at Jamie Farr


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POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

SYLVANIA, Ohio » Morgan Pressel was paired with the world's top two players in the opening round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Then she outplayed them both.

Pressel, Song-Hee Kim and Laura Diaz each shot a 7-under 64 to share the lead, one shot ahead of Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen yesterday at Highland Meadows.

“;It was a great pairing,”; Pressel said, after playing with top-ranked Lorena Ochoa and No. 2 Yani Tseng. “;They're both good friends and they have a lot of fun. They're great to play with.”;

Then Pressel, ranked No. 37, laughed and added, “;Even though I hit first all day.”;

Wie could use a victory. Despite being in the LPGA spotlight since she was 12, and winning the Women's Amateur Publinx a year later, she is winless since earning her tour card last year. She has three top-10 finishes in her seven starts this season.

She used her length off the tee to shoot her lowest competitive round since turning pro, and rebounded from her only bogey to birdie two of her last three holes for a 6-under 65. Five of Wie's seven birdies came on putts of 10 feet or less.

“;The best part of today was just the rhythm and the tempo,”; said Wie, who won't turn 20 until October. “;I was just going along, hitting fairways and greens and making putts. The mental part was the best part. I felt really good out there, and really confident.”;

Defending champion Paula Creamer, who shot a personal-best and course-record 60 in last year's first round, withdrew because of a thumb injury moments before her morning tee time.

She said in a statement that she hopes to play in next week's U.S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.

“;This is an event I feel a very special bond with and it's disappointing not to be able to defend my title,”; Creamer said.

Pressel was second at the Farr two years ago to five-time winner Se Ri Pak. She didn't have a bogey and birdied four holes in a row late in her round.

Her 64 matched her best round since joining the tour in 2006. After bursting on the scene with a runner-up finish at the 2005 U.S. Women's Open, Pressel was considered a budding LPGA star, and became the youngest player to win a major at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

She's won only once since, and is trying to end a victory drought just like her co-leaders.

“;This is the best golf I've played in a while,”; she said.

Kim, who is winless in 56 career LPGA Tour events, twice birdied three consecutive holes during her round. Diaz hasn't won in seven years, but holed a wedge shot for eagle at the par-4 17th hole to move to the top of the leaderboard.

“;I've been trying to get my swing going good again,”; Diaz said. “;I just really have spent a lot of time on those things. My putter happily surprised me today and led that ball right into the hole.”;

Pettersen aced the 154-yard third hole with a 7 iron, the highlight of her round, as 86 players broke par in perfect scoring conditions.

Another shot back of Wie and Pettersen after rounds of 66 were Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park, Jiyai Shin, Lindsey Wright and Jee Young Lee.

The large group at 67 was led by Ochoa, making her first appearance at the Farr since 2004. She offset a double-bogey with birdies on her final two holes.