Burton Takes Vacation _ And Share of First Round Lead
AGAWAM, Mass. (AP) _ Maybe Brandie Burton should take more vacations.
Coming off a week of family and fishing, she got right back to business Thursday, tying Mardi Lunn for the first-round lead of the LPGA Friendly’s Classic at 5-under-par 67.
Burton, who got a share of the lead with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18, credited her time off after seven weeks of play.
``Never took the clubs out of the bag,″ she said. ``I just needed a big rest.″
Margaret Platt, Marianne Morris and Dottie Pepper were at 68. Two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden paced a group at 69 that included Shelley Hamlin and Sherrin Smyers.
Burton overcame three bogeys with precise putting.
``The putter was the key to the round today,″ she said. ``I made some good putts when I needed to,″ including a 20-footer on No. 10 for birdie.
Lunn, an Australian, sank a 15-footer for birdie on No. 10, her first hole of the day, and added birdies at Nos. 15, 16 and 17 in completing a 4-under front nine. She had birdies at Nos. 1 and 7 on the front to go with her only bogey, a three-putt at No. 5.
``I was hitting it long and straight today, which was a big advantage,″ she said.
Recent heavy rains made for slower than usual fairways at the Crestview County Club, which generally favors big hitters.
Tropical storm Bertha dumped several inches of rain on the region over the weekend. This week, several parked vehicles got stuck in a mucky field and needed to be pulled out with heavy equipment.
Pepper, who has won twice this season and 12 times in her career, said she woke up sick with a minor bug and considered dropping out.
``Considering I didn’t feel too well when I got up this morning, I did pretty well,″ she said. ``I’m just going to go back out, hit a few irons and a few bunker shots and go back to bed.″
Platt got into contention when she eagled the par-4 13th, sinking a 5-iron approach from about 175 yards.
``I kind of bladed it. I just wanted to get it on the green,″ she said. ``You keep playing, and you get lucky sooner or later. That woke me up.″
Morris eagled the par-5, 445-yard No. 7, sinking a 15-foot putt after a 3-wood approach from 195 yards.