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Galloway, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Morgan Pressel fired a 5-under 66 in Friday's first round and she grabbed a 1-shot lead at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Pressel is seeking her third career victory on the LPGA Tour and her first since the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic. She also won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship, which was her first and only major title.
"I really didn't put myself in a whole lot of trouble. I wouldn't say that I certainly had the best game out there. I felt like I made a few mistakes," Pressel said. "But I guess I just made a few mistakes, and I didn't play all that well, but then I came down birdieing eight and eagling the last hole. That definitely helps."
Anna Nordqvist, Ryann O'Toole, Alena Sharp and Min Lee carded matching 4-under 67s on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, tying them for second.
Nine more players are all one shot further back and tied for sixth at 3-under 68.
World No. 3 Stacy Lewis, the defending champion and two-time winner, is tied for 56th following a 1-over 72.
Teeing off in the morning on the back nine, Pressel was able to grab the early lead and it was never overtaken.
Pressel started with four routine pars in a row before dropping a shot with a bogey at the par-4 14th. That did not set her back for too long, however, as Pressel later poured in two birdies in three holes at 16 and 18.
Making the turn at minus-1, Pressel continued to roll. Following a pair of pars at one and two, the 27-year-old again made two gains in three holes on three and five.
Now up to minus-3, Pressel tripped to her second bogey on No. 6, but again she responded nicely.
After a par on seven, Pressel rolled in her fifth birdie on No. 8 and closed with a big tap-in eagle at the par-5 ninth to post a 5-under 66.
"I hit driver, five hybrid and I didn't honestly know where it was," Pressel said about what she hit for her first two shots on No. 9. "I thought it might be short of the green. I couldn't see it and nobody clapped, so like I have no idea where this ball is, and kind of came up just far enough over the hill to where we could see it and I was like 'oh, it's right next to the hole. OK, I'll take it.'"
Nordqvist used five birdies and one bogey to grab a share of second place going into the weekend, while O'Toole holed seven birdies and three bogeys.
Sharp had an eagle on No. 9 and four birdies on her round, but back-to-back bogeys on one and two had her trying to come back throughout most of the day.
Lee had a big front nine that included three birdies and an eagle on No. 3. A birdie at the ninth tied Lee for the lead with Pressel, but she slowed down from there. Lee made eight pars and a bogey on 13 to close out her round.
NOTES: Pressel also held the first-round lead at the ANA Inspiration, the first major championship of the year, in early April. She wound up finishing alone in third ... Of the four players in second place, Nordqvist is the only one with a win on tour. She has four victories ... World No. 2 Inbee Park, the highest ranked player in the field, is tied for 40th at even-par 71 ... With this being a three-day event, a cut will be made after Saturday's second round.
05/29 19:34:54 ET
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