Mindy Moore felt the effects of an upset stomach Thursday, but it did nothing to hurt her hopes of scoring an upset in the Kyocera Inamori LPGA Tournament at Bernardo Heights Country Club.
Moore, seeking her first LPGA win, shot a first-round, six-under-par 66 to take a three-stroke lead over Pat Bradley, Atsuko Hikage, Laurie Rinker, Patty Sheehan, Val Skinner and Hollis Stacy, who all shot 69.
Each of the top seven, except Rinker and Stacy, teed off in the morning before the winds picked up and the greens got rougher. Rinker and Stacy’s first-round disadvantage may become an advantage today because they will tee off in the morning.
On Thursday afternoon, players had to contend with a “1 1/2 to 2-club wind” at times, according to Stacy.
“I don’t think the biggest factor was the winds,” she said. “The big factor was the greens. They’re a little smoother in the morning. The greens get a little spiked up later in the day.”
Considering how Moore felt Thursday, it was just as well that she finished early in the day so she could get some rest.
For nourishment, Moore ate raisins while playing and also had a soft drink before her round. She hardly ever has caffeine before a round, but did Thursday in an effort to overcome her sluggishness.
Moore’s instant cure wasn’t caffeine, but her game. Her 66 was one shot better than her previous career best at the West Virginia tournament in 1982.
On Thursday, Moore played the back nine first and was only two under par at that point. Then she really got hot.
Moore birdied the par-4 first hole after landing 15 feet from the pin with a six-iron. She birdied the par-5 second hole after hitting a sand wedge 2 1/2 feet from the cup. Then, on the 152-yard third hole, her tee shot hit the hole and came out. That left her with a tap-in for birdie.
Moore had her second bogey on the fifth hole. She ended with consecutive birdies on putts from four and five feet. She needed only 26 putts for the round.
“My putter felt good today,” Moore said. “On most holes, I was putting for birdie from under 20 feet.”
Most times, Moore doesn’t have things nearly as easy. Her best finish ever was a second-place tie in last year’s S&H; Tournament at St. Petersburg, Fla. Before Thursday, she had never led a tournament.
In nine tournaments this year, Moore has missed the cut four times. Her top performance in 1986 was a tie for 17th in last week’s Nabisco Dinah Shore Tournament at Rancho Mirage.
Interestingly, before the 1986 tour began, Moore became vice president of the LPGA players group. She said the position takes a lot of her time, but apparently doesn’t take away from her game.
“I want to prove to my peers that it’s not that much of a deterrent,” Moore said. “The first part of the year, I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of the job and put pressure on myself to do well.”
Of Moore’s closest pursuers in the tournament, Bradley and Skinner have been hottest. Bradley won last week’s tournament in Rancho Mirage and Skinner finished second.
Bradley was three under through the first five holes Thursday. She bogeyed No. 6, birdied No. 15 and parred the remaining holes.
Skinner, who birdied the last three holes and four of the last five in the Dinah Shore, began the day with another birdie. She was three under after nine holes and shot even par on the back nine.
“I’m relaxed this week and still enjoying my finish of last week,” Skinner said. “When I won the Mazda at Stonebridge (in January), I felt like I had to be just as good the next week. I feel now like if I make a good showing, I make a good showing. Nobody’s going to cut my legs off if I don’t. I’m glad to be thinking this way now.”