Pregnant Hjorth shares Longs Drugs lead

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DANVILLE, Calif. – Nearly five months pregnant, Maria Hjorth shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead with Michele Redman at the Longs Drugs Challenge.

“It affects me a little bit,” said Hjorth, ranked 12th in the world.

“Sometimes my body gets a little bit slow and my hands get quicker than my body. Today, a few shots I pulled them a little bit left. Other than that it doesn’t really affect me too much. I’ve been feeling really good throughout the whole thing so far. I’ll keep on playing until I feel I can’t anymore.”

Hjorth matched Redman with seven birdies and a bogey on a sunny day at Blackhawk Country Club. In-Kyung Kim and Mikaela Parmlid were tied for second at 67.

Suzann Pettersen, a playoff winner over top-ranked Lorena Ochoa last year at Blackhawk, was two strokes back at 68 along with LPGA Championship winner Yani Tseng, Sarah Lee, Sarah Kemp, Meaghan Francella, Reilley Rankin and Wendy Ward.

Winless this year, Pettersen had a chance to tie for the lead on her final hole, but three-putted for a bogey.

“It’s a good start,” Pettersen said. “Maybe a couple better could have been perfect. You never know what perfect is going to be.”

Ochoa, a seven-time winner this year, opened with a 70. Santa Cruz resident Juli Inkster, who won in 1999 and 2000 at Twelve Bridges, also had a 70.

“Of course I would like to be better, but I can’t complain,” Ochoa said. “I just have to be positive, and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

Paula Creamer, the Samsung World Championship winner last week at Half Moon Bay, had two double bogeys and an eagle in a 74. Ai Miyazato, coming off a victory Sunday in the Japan Women’s Open, shot a 72.

The Lakeside Course has five par 5s that Hjorth said she can reach in two shots and a few par 4s that she believes she can drive.

“It’s a good advantage to hit it further here on this course,” said Hjorth, who has a pair of top-10 finishes at Blackhawk. “It’s one of those courses if you drive it well you’re going to have a lot of birdie chances.”

The 43-year-old Redman hasn’t finished in the top 10 in any of her 17 previous tournaments this year. She has won twice, but not since 2000.

“I’m just hitting it really good right now,” Redman said.

In the 2006 tournament, she took an 11 on the par-5 third hole in the first round, missed the cut and broke up with her longtime caddie.

Redman reunited with her caddie, Joe Connolly, earlier this year. They returned to the par-5 third Thursday, and this time Redman birdied the hole.

“I looked over at Joe and said, ‘Well, we’re seven shots better than we were the last time we played this hole in the first round,’ ” Redman said. “It was a mess. We have a little redemption going on here.”

Scores with relation to par from the first round of the Longs Drugs Challenge, played Oct. 9 at the par-72, 6,185-yard Blackhawk Country Club in Danville, Calif.:

  1. Maria Hjorth 66

    -6 1. Michele Redman 66

    -6 3. In-Kyung Kim 67

    -5 3. Mikaela Parmlid 67

    -5 5. Sarah Lee 68

    -4 5. Sarah Kemp 68

    -4 5. Meaghan Francella 68

    -4 5. Wendy Ward 68

    -4 5. Yani Tseng 68

    -4 5. Suzann Pettersen 68

    -4 5. Reilley Rankin 68

    -4 12. Charlotte Mayorkas 69

    -3 12. Sophie Giquel 69

    -3 12. Kate Golden 69

    -3 12. Julieta Granada 69

    -3 12. Rachel Hetherington 69

    -3 12. Mollie Fankhauser 69

    -3 18. Brandie Burton 70

    -2 18. Nicole Castrale 70

    -2 18. Laura Davies 70

    -2 18. Becky Morgan 70

    -2 18. Juli Inkster 70

    -2 18. Kristy McPherson 70

    -2 18. Lorena Ochoa 70

    -2 18. Pat Hurst 70

    -2 18. Angela Stanford 70

    -2 18. Joo Mi Kim 70

    -2 18. Sandra Gal 70

    -2 18. Carolina Llano 70

    -2 30. Stacy Lewis 71

    -1 30. Michelle McGann 71

    -1 30. Nancy Scranton 71

    -1 30. Na On Min 71

    -1 30. Karen Stupples 71

    -1 30. Irene Cho 71

    -1 30. Na Yeon Choi 71

    -1 30. Mi Hyun Kim 71

    -1 30. Silvia Cavalleri 71

    -1 30. Giulia Sergas 71

    -1 40. Il Mi Chung 72

    E 40. Jeong Jang 72

    E 40. Ai Miyazato 72

    E 40. Laura Diaz 72

    E 40. Shanshan Feng 72

    E 40. Eun-Hee Ji 72

    E 40. Hee-Won Han 72

    E 40. Hee Young Park 72

    E 40. Kyeong Bae 72

    E 40. Stacy Prammanasudh 72

    E 40. Brittany Lang 72

    E 40. Violeta Retamoza 72

    E 40. Carri Wood 72

    E 53. Candy Hannemann 73
    + 1 53. Jackie Gallagher-Smith 73
    + 1 53. Karin Sjodin 73
    + 1 53. Candie Kung 73
    + 1 53. Allison Fouch 73
    + 1 53. Carin Koch 73
    + 1 53. Seon Hwa Lee 73
    + 1 53. Janice Moodie 73
    + 1 53. Linda Wessberg 73
    + 1 53. Beth Bader 73
    + 1 53. Heather Young 73
    + 1 53. Meredith Duncan 73
    + 1 53. Moira Dunn 73
    + 1 53. Jennifer Rosales 73
    + 1 67. Amy Hung 74
    + 2 67. Alena Sharp 74
    + 2 67. Su A Kim 74
    + 2 67. Young-A Yang 74
    + 2 67. Helen Alfredsson 74
    + 2 67. Leta Lindley 74
    + 2 67. Sophie Gustafson 74
    + 2 67. Karine Icher 74
    + 2 67. Lorie Kane 74
    + 2 67. Morgan Pressel 74
    + 2 67. Paula Creamer 74
    + 2 78. Mhairi McKay 75
    + 3 78. Jane Park 75
    + 3 78. Teresa Lu 75
    + 3 78. Diana D'Alessio 75
    + 3 78. Becky Lucidi 75
    + 3 78. Wendy Doolan 75
    + 3 78. Seo-Jae Lee 75
    + 3 85. Heather Daly-Donofrio 76
    + 4 85. Aree Song 76
    + 4 85. Stephanie Louden 76
    + 4 85. Young Kim 76
    + 4 85. Ji Young Oh 76
    + 4 85. Dorothy Delasin 76
    + 4 91. Russy Gulyanamitta 77
    + 5 91. Christina Kim 77
    + 5 91. Birdie Kim 77
    + 5 91. Sarah Jane Kenyon 77
    + 5 91. Patricia Meunier-Lebouc 77
    + 5 91. Liz Janangelo 77
    + 5 97. Nicole Perrot 78
    + 6 97. Sung Ah Yim 78
    + 6 97. Kim Welch 78
    + 6 97. Gloria Park 78
    + 6 97. Kelli Kuehne 78
    + 6 102. Becky Iverson 79
    + 7 102. Brittany Lincicome 79
    + 7 102. Liselotte Neumann 79
    + 7 102. Emily Bastel 79
    + 7 106. Kim Hall 81
    + 9 107. Sun Young Yoo 82
    + 10 108. Christa Johnson 84
    + 12
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