Kathy Ireland Championship Honouring Harvey Penick
Kathy Ireland Championship Honouring Harvey Penick
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Three share first day lead

Rosie Jones and Carin Koch both shot bogey-free, four-under-par 66s Thursday to join Tina Barrett atop the leaderboard through one round of the Kathy Ireland Championship. Lorie Kane, Johanna Head, Leta Lindley, Mhairi McKay and Lisa DePaulo are all one shot off the pace at minus- three.

Jones, a 10-time winner seeking her first victory since 1999, teed off on the back nine first at the par-70 Onion Creek Club. She birdied the 11th after a five-iron to 12 feet, then followed with a wedge to a foot at the 12th to go to two-under. She sank a 25-footer for birdie after a seven-wood to the green at 15, then backed that up with another wedge in close for a birdie at the 16th. Jones closed with 10 straight pars.

"You know, I have 17 putts on the front...and 14 on the back. So that's a lot of putts for shooting four-under," said Jones. "Usually you have about 27, 28 putts when you shoot like that. So, you know this shows that I was playing solid and hit a lot of greens. Got a little tougher on that front side, which was my second side. With the wind picking up a little bit, greens getting a little bit harder, a little bit more unpredictable. But I felt like I played solid."

Koch, still chasing her first LPGA Tour title, made her first move Thursday with a four-footer for birdie at the fourth. She tallied three more birdies over the first five holes on the back, ending with a nine-iron to 15 feet at the 14th.

"I had some really good chances that I didn't make," said Koch, who was born in Sweden. "And I made those that were all pretty short putts. I missed the green on the first hole and then I think I pretty much hit every green."

Koch gained recognition when her eight-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole gave her a win in her singles match against American Michele Redman and clinched the 2000 Solheim Cup for the European squad. Koch went 3-0 in her first appearance in the biennial match-play competition between the U.S. and Europe.

Barrett bounced back from a bogey on her second hole -- the par-three 11th -- with three birdies in a four-hole stretch before she took the turn. Although she left her sand wedge approach 30 feet from the hole at the par-five first, Barrett was able to roll in the long putt for her fourth birdie. She used a six-iron off the tee at the 161-yard sixth, hitting to five feet to set up the birdie that gave her a piece of the first-round lead.

"It is a good mix of holes out there," Barrett said of the 6,067-yard Onion Creek layout, which has hosted this event since its inception two years ago. "A lot of wide fairways. And then a lot of really, really tight ones. I mean, you feel like it is like tight as can be. And then it gets wide open on the next shot. So, you know, they can hit driver on those holes. And on the tight ones, irons down there."

Barrett hasn't visited the winner's circle since her rookie year of 1989.

Se Ri Pak, who captured her second title of the season at last week's Longs Drugs Challenge in California, is tied for 44th but only five shots back after a one-over 71. Akiko Fukushima, the winner of this event in its inaugural year of 1999, trails by seven shots after opening with a 73.

Defending champion Laura Davies, who with a win this week would earn the points necessary for qualification into the LPGA Hall of Fame, has her work cut out for her after kicking off the event with a five-over 75.

This tournament honors the legendary golf teacher and Austin resident Harvey Penick, who passed away in 1995.

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