Neumann sets pace

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The Independent Online
A Swede led after the first round of the US Women's Open, but it was not the defending champion, Annika Sorenstam, as Liselotte Neumann took charge on the Pumpkin Ridge course in Cornelius, Oregon.

Sorenstam, the pre-championship favourite, was upstaged by her compatriot, who compiled four birdies in a flawless four-under-par 67 in cool afternoon conditions following intermittent rain earlier in the day.

Neumann, the 1988 Open champion, was the only player in the 150-woman field not to make a bogey or worse as she matched her lowest round in a US Open.

She led by one stroke over the Americans Susie Redman, Kelly Robbins and Deb Richard, and the 19-year-old South Korean, Se Ri Pak.

Redman was helped by the first hole-in-one of her career, which came at the 15th, where her six-iron bounced three times and jumped into the cup.

Sorenstam found no such joy in her round as she shot a six-over 77 in a dreadful start to her quest to win the event for an unprecedented three consecutive years.

Laura Davies, who win in 1987, opened a gash in her left index finger while slicing some bread before the first round and she shot a 75 to stand eight strokes off the pace.