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Koreans dominate at State Farm Classic

HALL of Famer Pak Se-ri shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead with fellow South Korean Lee Jee-young in the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Illinois, on Thursday.

A five-time major winner, Pak is seeking her first top-10 finish in 10 starts this year. If she does, it'll come against a field that features 49 of the US LPGA Tour's top 50 money winners.

Kris Tamulis opened with a 67, and Natalie Gulbis, Suzann Pettersen and Anja Monke shot 68s at Panther Creek in the final tuneup for the McDonald's LPGA Classic next week in Maryland.

Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer were in a large group at 69, and Michelle Wie shot a 70. Kraft Nabisco winner Brittany Lincicome was in danger of missing the cut after opening with a 75.

Seeking her 25th tour win and first since the 2007 Jamie Farr Classic, Pak had six birdies - three on the final four holes - in tying her lowest round this year.

"Lately, my game's been getting pretty settled down - getting closer and closer each week," said Pak, who has finished no higher than 13th this year.

Pak began the day by hitting a sand wedge to 15 feet on par-5 first and completed her round with a flurry, birdieing three of the final four holes.

She was at 3-under when she hit a good tee shot and drove a wedge to about 10 feet for the birdie on the par-4 15th and two-putted from 35 feet for birdie on the par-5 16th. She finished the round with a 7-iron to about 15 feet on 18.


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