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Ex-Cat Blasberg leads with a 65

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

CORNING, N.Y. – Nothing slowed former Arizona Wildcat Erica Blasberg, not even all the layers she was wearing at the start of the LPGA Corning Classic.

Blasberg shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday, a raw day more like early March than late May, to take a two-shot lead over Na On Min of South Korea and Karine Icher of France after the first round.

If this is the final Corning Classic for 51-year-old Sherri Turner, who’s contemplating retirement, she seems determined to leave her favorite tour stop on a positive note.

The 1988 Corning champ shot a 4-under 68, only her second round in the 60s in six events this year, and was tied for fourth with Na Yeon Choi, Sandra Gal, and 2005 Corning champ Jimin Kang.

Another shot back among seven players was surprising Australian rookie Anna Rawson in only her fifth LPGA event. Rawson, who also is a model, equaled her best round this year – she also opened last week’s Sybase Classic with a 69 before a second-day 84 sent her packing.

Blasberg completed her best round since turning pro in 2004 by making a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 9, just her 27th putt of the day. That left her atop the leaderboard, an uncustomary position for a player whose best career finish in 66 LPGA events was a tie for eighth at Turtle Bay in February.

“I don’t really put pressure on myself, like I have to get a win,” said Blasberg, a two-time All-American at Arizona and Pac-10 player of the year in 2003. “I know I’m playing good golf, and I know the more I work on my game, eventually it’ll come. The only thing that’s holding me back is those birdies that can save a round. It’s definitely in my mind, but I’m not going to dwell on it.”

PGA Tour

FORT WORTH, Texas – Johnson Wagner bogeyed two of three holes midway through the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational on Thursday. That was only a small hiccup on his way to matching his best score on the PGA Tour.

He had nine bridies for a 7-under 63 and a two-stroke lead over No. 2-ranked Phil Mickelson and Brett Wetterich.

Champions Tour

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Jay Haas withstood wet, bone-chilling and eventually windy conditions by shooting the only sub-par round Thursday to take the lead at the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill with a 1-under 69.

PGA Europe

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Paul McGinley boosted his chances of a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance Thursday with a 7-under 65 to take the lead after the first round of the BMW PGA Championship.

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