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Women's British Open: Park three off lead

The SportsXchange

American Morgan Pressel took the early clubhouse lead with a 6-under round of 66 in the first round of the Women's British Open on Thursday, with Sweden's Camilla Lennarth joining her atop the leaderboard with a birdie on the 18th hole later in the day.

Fifty-four players finished the first round under par on The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, including Inbee Park, who grinded out a 3-under round of 69 on a "rollercoaster" day. Park is seeking to become the first golfer - male or female - to win four major professional championships in the same calendar year.

Park reached 6-under through 10 holes, but scuffled down the stretch with a double bogey and two bogeys on the back nine. She managed to make three putts from 15-plus feet and finished with her seventh birdie of the day on 18.

"I played very good on the front nine and then I had a little bit shaky on the back nine," Park said. "But I still feel really good about the game. I was 6-under through 10 holes and that means I could do the same thing tomorrow.

"There was a couple of bad drives and a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but it's the first round, and could have been much better. A little bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the final round."

Americans Nicole Castrole, Stacy Lewis, Sydnee Michaels and Ryann O'Toole are among seven players one shot off the lead. Lewis carded five birdies on the back nine. South Koreans Na Yeon Choi, Eun-Hee Ji and Mi-Jeong Jeon also sit at 5-under.

"I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par," Lewis said. "To come away, shooting 5-under on the back nine on this golf course, I don't care if it's calm or if it's windy, it's a good score, so I'm very happy with the day."

Park won the U.S. Women's Open in July, the LPGA Championship in June and the Kraft Nabisco Championships in April. If she can't get a fourth major title in Scotland, another chance exists with the Evian Masters, added as a fifth major this season.

Bobby Jones won four majors in a calendar year, but two were amateur championships. He won the British Open, U.S. Open and the amateur events at those two tournaments.

Tigers Woods won the 2001 Masters after winning the British Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Open in 2000, giving him four successive major title wins.

"I was a little bit nervous this morning before I teed off," Park said. "But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence.

"I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round. I'm just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt."
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