Becky Morgan shot an 8-under-par 64 in cool, rainy conditions yesterday to take a three-stroke lead over Lorena Ochoa after the opening round of the Rochester LPGA in Pittsford, N.Y.
Ochoa closed with three straight birdies for a 67, one ahead of Maria Hjorth and two in front of 2003 US Women's Open champion Hilary Lunke. Se Ri Pak, Christina Kim, Laura Diaz, and Rachel Hetherington were at 2 under.
Morgan is a two-time runner-up who has struggled this season. Her best finish in 2005 is a tie for 27th at the season-opening SBS Open, and she's missed the cut in five of 10 tournaments this year.
''It was pretty squelchy out there -- yeah, just one shot at a time and stay patient, which I guess I haven't been this year," the 30-year-old Morgan said. ''It's the best I've hit all year. I've been struggling to find anything."
Cristie Kerr, second on the money list behind Annika Sorenstam, withdrew after six holes because of a knee injury. Sorenstam skipped the tournament to prepare for next week's US Women's Open at Cherry Hills. Despite 62 career LPGA victories, the Swede's best finish in four tries in Rochester was a second in 1996.
European -- Neil Cheetham, Julien Clement, Martin Erlandsson, Raphael Eyraud, Birgir Hafthorsson, Hennie Otto, and Per Nyman each carded 3-under 68s to share the lead after one round of the Aa Saint-Omer Open in Lumbres, France.