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Morgan Pressel leads with an opening 66

Morgan Pressel, winless on the LPGA Tour since 2008, shot a 5-under 66 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the Northwest Arkansas Championship.

Pressel led at Pinnacle Country Club from Yani Tseng, Gloria Park and Na Yeon Choi.

Michelle Wie, coming off a victory in the Canadian Women’s Open, was another stroke back along with Suzann Pettersen, Janice Moodie, Danielle Downey and Jee Young Lee.

Pressel, also the 2007 Kraft Nabisco winner, finished with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9. She hit 15 greens in regulation and missed only one fairway to move to the top of a loaded field. After the event, the tour is off until Oct. 7, and with the exception of Paula Creamer (thumb injury) all of the top players are playing.

Tseng, who won the Women’s British Open and the Kraft Nabisco this year, is off to a good start as she tries to get back on track. Since winning the British, she finished tied for 45th at the Safeway Classic and missed the cut at the Canadian Women’s Open.

Tseng birdied No. 18, a 515-yard par 5. Her second shot, a 3-wood from 233 yards, landed around the front of an elevated green.

“I killed that shot,” Tseng said. “It was like 245 into wind, so I hit a great shot there. I just couldn’t see my ball so my caddie said my ball was just running back to front edge and I made a good two-putt there.”

On the same hole, the big-hitting Wie came up short of the green with her second shot and settled for par.

“I didn’t birdie any of the par 5s today and I bogeyed one of them, so I definitely need to do better,” Wie said.,

Other big names at Pinnacle include Cristie Kerr (72), Ai Miyazato (71) and Jiyai Shin (71).

Thursday’s pro-am was canceled because of bad weather, but it was hot and muggy Friday, enabling the course to dry out. The top four players on the leaderboard all teed off in the morning, when scoring conditions appeared more favorable.

“I’m not sure that that had so much to do with it drying out, or just that there was quite a bit of wind when we first teed off,” said Paige Mackenzie, who played in the afternoon and shot 72. “For our first three quarters of our round, or first two thirds of our round, we had quite a bit of wind.”

Scores

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