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Hurst, Mallon Lead in Office Depot

January 22, 1998

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Pat Hurst and Meg Mallon shot matching 5-under-par 67s on Wednesday to share the first-round lead in the LPGA Office Depot tournament.

Neither played here last year in the first LPGA event at Ibis Country Club but it didn’t seem to matter. Hurst had six birdies and a bogey and Mallon made five birdies on the 6,195-yard Heritage, one of two courses being used this week.

``I never thought about the next hole because I had never seen it,″ Hurst said.

After a birdie and a bogey midway through the front nine, Hurst sank birdie putts of 3, 15 and 20 feet at Nos. 6-8 and added two more birdies on the back.

Mallon made birdie putts of 2, 6 and 4 feet on the back nine, which she played first, and 3- and 8-footers on the front.

``I just seemed to be able to pick the right club for the wind,″ Mallon said.

Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson and Peru’s Alicia Dibos were a stroke back after 68s on the Heritage. Wendy Ward and Maggie Halpin were low on the adjacent, 6,277-yard Legend course with 69s.

In the LPGA season opener at Orlando last weekend, Hurst shot a 10-over 226, 17 strokes behind winner Kelly Robbins. Mallon was second by two strokes.

Robbins, the defending champion here, opened Wednesday with par-72 on the Legend.

``The only thing that saved me last week is that I putted well,″ Hurst said. ``But on the range here, I figured out I was coming over the top too much on my swing and got myself back on line.″

Mallon, recovering from a left shoulder injury, said she was trying to keep pressure off herself.

After two rounds of pro-am play, one on each course, the 80-player pro field will return to the Legend for the last two rounds, finishing on Saturday to avoid conflict with the Super Bowl on Sunday. The winner of the $600,000 tournament will earn $90,000.

A team headed by Alfreddson led the pro-am at 18-under 54.

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