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Stacy Lewis takes early lead at U.S. Women's Open with a 67

SportsGolfU.S. Open (golf)Martin KaymerGermanyTravelers ChampionshipRory McIlroy
Stacy Lewis takes early lead at U.S. Women's Open with a three-under 67
Women struggle at Pinehurst No. 2, which is 1,000 yards shorter than last week's U.S. Open

Comparisons were inevitable by hosting the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open on the game golf course in consecutive weeks at Pinehurst, N.C.

Only these had nothing to do with numbers.

Stacy Lewis found comfort in comparisons with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer. The No. 1 player in women's golf studied Pinehurst No. 2 on her own a few weeks ago, formulated an idea how to play the golf course, and then watched Martin Kaymer follow the script she had in her head and win by eight shots.

Just like Kaymer, she opened Thursday without a bogey on her card, a three-under-par 67 for a one-shot lead over Michelle Wie.

"It was cool to see the plan I had laid out in my head. He was kind of doing the same thing," Lewis said. "So it was nice coming into the week knowing that my plan was going to work on this golf course. … If you're hitting the ball well enough, you can definitely run away with it. At the same time, you have to know par is a good number and keep grinding away."

Right behind was Wie, who studied as hard for Pinehurst as she ever did at Stanford. She was at Pinehurst on Sunday to watch the final round, and later picked up the yardage books from a few friends in Florida -- U.S. Open runner-up Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley -- and compared notes.

Wie charted her way to four birdies on the back nine for a 68.

"I did a lot of homework," she said. "Just took the notes from both of the books. It really helped just because they played last week in similar conditions. And they're obviously great players. I definitely learned a thing or two."

They were among only five players under par when the first round was halted by thunderstorms with 30 players who did not finish.

Kaymer, who started with a bogey-free 65 on his way to a wire-to-wire win, was among 15 players who broke par in the first round of the men's Open. The scoring average Thursday was 75.73, about 2 1/2 shots harder than it was for the men.

Pinehurst No. 2 played 1,064 yards shorter than it did for the opening round of the U.S. Open. That didn't make it any easier.

Except for Lewis.

"It was such an easy day," Lewis said, referring to her game more than the golf course. "I played really, really solid, other that I had to make a few par putts. But other than that, I didn't put myself in too bad of spots and made a few birdies."

Former Women's Open champion So Yeon Ryu, Katherine Kirk and 18-year-old amateur Minjee Lee were at 69.

The early show belonged to Lucy Li, the 11-year-old from the Bay Area who became the youngest qualifier in U.S. Women's Open history. She missed only one fairway and was rarely out of position, though it cost the sixth-grader dearly when she was. Li made one triple bogey and two double bogeys, three blemishes on her card that led to a 78.

"I mean, it's eight over," Li said. "It's not bad. But I was seven over in three holes, so that's one over in 15 holes. So yeah, I just need to get rid of the big numbers."

There were plenty of those to go around.

At least 17 players failed to break 80, including Laura Davies. She had an 82, her worst score in a Women's Open since Cherry Hills in 2005. Perhaps more shocking was Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and defending champion Inbee Park, each of them at 76.

Karrie Webb and Paula Creamer were at 70. Juli Inkster, at 53 and playing in the Women's Open for the 35th time, had a 71.

Steele has one-shot lead at Travelers Championship

Brendan Steele shot an eight-under 62 in the morning and it held up for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn.

The 31-year-old Californian started his round with an eagle, holing a 129-yard wedge shot in the rain. He went on to birdie six of the next 12 holes at TPC River Highlands, then closed the bogey-free round with five consecutive pars.

He finished two shots off the course record of 60 set by Patrick Cantlay in 2011 as an amateur.

Bud Cauley and Ryan Moore shot 63, while Chad Campbell, Joe Durant, Scott Langley, Eric Axley and Jeff Maggert followed at 64.

Steele is shooting for his third top-10 finish this season after failing to qualify for last week's U.S. Open.

Ilonen's course-record 64 good for Irish Open lead

Mikko Ilonen of Finland carded a course-record seven-under-par 64 while crowd favorite Rory McIlroy finished 10 shots behind in the first round of the Irish Open in Cork, Ireland.

Ilonen birdied five of his closing seven holes in superb scoring conditions to end the day with a two-shot lead on the Fota Island course. Ilonen had just 26 putts in his 300th European Tour event. It added up to a record on a course made over since the last Irish Open at Fota Island in 2002.

Tied for second on five under were Germany's Marcel Siem and the Swedish pair of Robert Karlsson and Magnus Carlsson.

McIlroy hit just eight of the 14 fairways and took 30 putts in a round of three-over 74. He's in a lowly share of 125th place in the 156-player field.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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SportsGolfU.S. Open (golf)Martin KaymerGermanyTravelers ChampionshipRory McIlroy
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