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Wie stays in hunt as trio leads at Farr

MORGAN Pressel, Kim Song-hee and Laura Diaz made the most of the defending champion's absence at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Ohio on Thursday.

Each shot a 7-under 64 after Paula Creamer withdrew because of a thumb injury, taking a 1-shot lead over Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen after the opening round at Highland Meadows.

Despite being in the US LPGA spotlight since she was 12, and winning the Women's Amateur Publinx a year later, Wie is winless since earning her tour card last year. She has three top-10 finishes in her seven starts this season.

She used her length off the tee to shoot her lowest competitive round since turning pro, and rebounded from her only bogey to birdie two of her last three holes. Five of Wie's seven birdies came on putts of 10 feet or less.

Pressel, who was second at the Farr two years ago to five-time winner Pak Se-ri, didn't have a bogey and birdied four holes in a row late in her round. Her 64 matched her best round since joining the tour in 2006.

After bursting on the scene with a runner-up finish at the 2005 US Women's Open, Pressel became the youngest player to win a major at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She's won only once since, and is trying to end a victory drought just like her co-leaders.

Kim, who is winless in 56 career US LPGA Tour events, twice birdied three consecutive holes during her round. Diaz hasn't won in seven years, but holed a wedge shot for eagle at the par-4 17th hole to move to the top of the leaderboard.

The large group at 67 was led by top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, making her first appearance at the Farr since 2004. She offset a double-bogey with birdies on her final two holes.


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