Catrin Nilsmark sloshed around a soggy and shortened DuPont Country Club in 4-under-par 67 on Friday to take the lead after the rain-delayed first round of the McDonald's LPGA Championship.
Nilsmark, who started her day with a birdie, hit every green but one and never made a bogey. She was one stroke ahead of Alison Nicholas in the tournament shortened to 54 holes when the course was unfit for play on Thursday.Defending champion Kelly Robbins was in a knot of six players tied with 69s, along with Annika Sorenstam. Karrie Webb, the rookie sensation who won last week, was at even-par 71 and long-hitting Laura Davies was at 72.
"I went out and solved some problems on the range yesterday," said Nilsmark, of Sweden, who had been fighting a hook. "So I was happy with the cancellation."
She put her practice to use with some pinpoint iron shots, rolling in four birdie putts of 13-15 feet and missing four others of 15 feet or less.
"It was a steady, not-too-exciting round of golf," Nilsmark said. "It's just one round of three."
The sun finally broke through at midday, but the DuPont course, which normally plays 6,386 yards, was so soaked by a week of rain that tournament officials moved most of the tees forward, giving the players a break since they weren't going to get any roll.
"They've moved the tees up quite sensibly," Nicholas said after her 68. "It wasn't just surface water. It was bubbling up there was so much water."
No. 2, which normally played 400 yards, was cut to 340 yards, and the 528-yard 11th hole was pared back to 458 yards. Those were the most drastically reduced holes, but almost every one played from a forward tee.