Lindberg leads leaderboard packed with global stars at Jamie Farr Classic

Pernilla Lindberg
Gett Images
Pernilla Lindberg hasn't finished in the top 10 of an LPGA Tour event in her 36 starts as a pro, but she leads after Day 1 in Toledo.
Rusty Miller
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Friday, August 10, 2012 | 12:02 a.m.

SYLVANIA, Ohio -- It was unofficially international day at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

The leaderboard might not have had many household names after the first round Thursday, but the leader and her closest pursuers included players representing Sweden, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the United States.


The Jamie Farr Toledo Classic wasn't played in 2011 as the Toledo area hosted the U.S. Senior Open instead.

Pernilla Lindberg holed birdie putts of 40 and 50 feet and added three 25-footers in a round of 7-under 64 to take a two-shot lead after the opening round at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

A top early contender to make the European side at the 2013 Solheim Cup, the Swede is virtually unknown in the States, even though she played at Oklahoma State and is in her third year on the LPGA Tour.

"That is one of my goals," she said of making it big on this side of the Atlantic. "If I can start showing my name on the leaderboard more often here, it's going to give me more confidence and that, of course, is what everyone wants."

The 26-year-old Lindberg has not finished in the top 10 of an LPGA Tour event in her 36 starts as a pro. She has missed the cut in six of her 10 starts this season, although she did tie for 12th at the Lotte Championship in April for her lowest career finish on tour.

There was no secret why Lindberg, who went off in the second group of the day, posted such a low score. She drained a 50-foot putt for birdie at No. 5, made a 40-footer for a 2 on the par-3 14th and made 25-footers at Nos. 4, 12 and 18.

"It felt like every putt I hit all day had a chance to go in," said Lindberg, who not too surprisingly grew up idolizing fellow countrywoman Annika Sorenstam. "Even the pars I made out there, they were still good birdie chances."

Texan Angela Stanford was two strokes back along with Japan's Mika Miyazato, South Korea's Chella Choi, LSU grad Meredith Duncan, rookie Numa Gulyanamitta of Thailand and France's Karine Icher.

The 2008 champ, Paula Creamer, had a 68, as did Toledo-born Stacy Lewis, the LPGA Tour money leader. Defending champ Na Yeon Choi shot a 71, while Yani Tseng, No. 1 in the world rankings, had a 72.

On a day in which a steady rain turned the greens into dartboards, 71 players -- almost half the field of 144 -- broke par. Yet Michelle Wie finished with a 75 and Morgan Pressel a 79.

Of the top seven players, the only one who has won an LPGA Tour event is Stanford, with five wins to her credit. Several are rising players just trying to establish themselves, others have cashed big checks but just haven't won yet.

Stanford said she didn't let the rain bother her.

"We knew it was coming," she said. "When you know it's in the forecast, it doesn't surprise you."

Miyazato has earned more than $2 million in LPGA events and has 16 top-10 finishes. Just this year she has tied for second twice, including at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, and also tied for seventh at the U.S. Women's Open.

Neither she nor Stanford had a bogey.

"I played more aggressive because the greens are very soft," Miyazato said.

Choi posted a career-best tie for second earlier this year at the Manulife Classic in Canada. Duncan hasn't made a dollar on tour the past two years. Her best finish is a tie for fifth in 2009. Gulyanamitta, 1 over through seven holes, birdied four of her last six to close out her 66. She's a former Purdue star who tied for 21st at the U.S. Women's Open.

"I made a bogey, then a birdie, then another bogey, then another birdie," said Gulyanamitta, who now calls West Lafayette, Ind., home. "Then I chipped in at 9 for birdie and I started going good."

Icher, completing a decade on tour, travels the globe with her daughter and husband, who also is her caddie.

"It's super nice. We have to be well organized, but it's fun to be parents," said Icher, who has 22 top-10 finishes on tour but has never been in the winner's circle. "It's cool to have (daughter Lola) on the tour and traveling with (us)."

More thunderstorms are predicted for Friday's second round. The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties at the completion of play.