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144 players complete first round in Portland

The 37th edition of the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi is underway at Columbia Edgewater Country Club with 2007 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Angela Park in the lead at 6-under-par 66, one shot better than six players at 5-under-par 67. Park was bogey-free on the day with six birdies. Park has made 16 of 19 cuts this year with five top-10 finishes with over $740,000 in earnings.

144 players teed it up under sunny skies on Friday with 72 players firing par or better.
 

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Six tied for second

Kelli Kuehne started Friday on the wrong foot with a double bogey on the first hole and a bogey on the third, but the eight birdies that followed helped move her into a tie for second place at 5-under-par 67. Kuehne, the 1999 LPGA Corning Classic champion, made the turn at even-par and then added five birdies on the back-nine. A two-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member, Kuehne has amassed over $100,000 in winnings this season despite missing 13 cuts.

South Koreans Hee Young Park (33-34=67) and Song-Hee Kim (35-32=67) each carded rounds of 5-under-par to tie Kuehne. Park notched seven birdies with two bogies, while Kim used six birdies and a long bogey to move just one shot off the lead held by Angela Park.

2008 Evian Masters champion Helen Alfredsson (35-32=67) was bogey-free on her way to 5-under, while Mom on Tour Karen Stupples used an eagle on hole seven, her 16th, to move to 5-under-67.
 

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World number one Ochoa at 3-under-par 69

Defending champion and world number one Lorena Ochoa started slow on Friday, but birdies on four of her final five holes propelled her to 3-under-par-69. The 26-year-old Ochoa is now tied for 13th place entering Saturday's second round at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. Ochoa earned her third consecutive victory of the season at the 2007 Safeway Classic, finishing the week five shots ahead at 12-under-par 204. This season, Ochoa has six victories and 13 top-10 finishes. She leads the LPGA Official Money List with over $2.3 million earned in 2008.

Others tied with Ochoa include six-time LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer (35-34=69) and five-time LPGA Tour winner Suzann Pettersen (35-34=69).
 

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Janangelo ties career low in opening round

LPGA Tour rookie Liz Janangelo tied a career-low with a first-round 4-under par (34-34=68) score at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The first-year player recorded six birdies on the day, along with a pair of bogeys. Janangelo's 68 marks just the second time this year that she has carded a round in the 60s, matching her first round mark at the Fields Open in Hawaii. The 2006 Duke University graduate will look to continue the strong opening-round production in hopes of making the cut for the ninth time this year.
 

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The cut.

76 players will compete on Sunday for a share of the $1.7 million purse at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The cutline fell at even-par 144 on the 6,397-yard, par-72 Columbia Edgewater Country Club. This year marks the 26th time the Portland-based event has been held at Columbia Edgewater on the banks of the Columbia River.

Sweden's Helen Alfredsson took the lead on Saturday following a 5-under par 67. The 2008 Evian Masters champion sits at 10-under-par (67-67=134) overall, one shot ahead of fellow Swede Sophie Gustafson (67-68=135, -9). Alfredsson is just under $40,000 shy of the $1 million mark in season earnings this year, a feat she has never accomplished in 16 previous seasons on the LPGA Tour.

Gustafson holds a two-shot cushion over Kelli Kuehne (67-70=137) and Paula Creamer (69-68=137) who are tied for third place. The four-time LPGA Tour winner held the lead for much of the day, but back-to-back bogies on holes 16 and 17 dropped her to solo second. Gustafson finished tied for second at last year's Safeway Classic where she opened with a season-low 66, but closed with a 75 to finish five shots out.
 

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World number one Ochoa in the mix

2007 Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi champion Lorena Ochoa kept herself in contention on Friday with a 2-under-par 70. The 26-year-old is one of 20 players within five strokes of the lead held by Helen Alfredsson heading into Sunday's final round at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Ochoa's 70 included five birdies and three bogies.

World number two Annika Sorenstam also gave herself a chance on Saturday with a 4-under-par 68 to move from a tie for 56th to a tie for 21st entering the final round. Sorenstam, who won back-to-back Safeway Classic's in 2002 and 2003, carded five birdies and one bogey on the day. 38-year-old Sorenstam will step away from competitive golf following the 2008 season.
 

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Last week's champion Hull looks for two-in-a-row

CN Canadian Women's Open champion Katherine Hull fired a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday to move into a tie for fifth place at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The 26-year-old was bogey-free on the day with five birdies. The last person to win consecutive tournaments on the LPGA Tour was Lorena Ochoa, who won four straight earlier this season.

Last week, Hull overcame a six-stroke deficit in Ottawa to become the seventh Rolex-First Time Winner of the 2008 LPGA Tour season. She crossed the $1 million mark in career earnings while becoming the ninth Australian to win an LPGA Tour event.
 

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Another round under par for Kuehne

In the second round of the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi, Kelli Kuehne put together a 2-under-par 70. The 10-year LPGA Tour veteran recorded five birdies and three bogeys on the second day at Columbia Edgewater Country Club, bringing her overall mark to 7-under par (67-70=137).

Her back-to-back rounds under par in Portland are the first in seven tournaments played for Kuehne, dating back to the McDonald's LPGA Championship, where she went on to finish tied for sixth. The University of Texas graduate will play in the final round for just the sixth time in 19 tournaments played this season as she enters Sunday in a two-way tie for third.
 

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Alfredsson crosses $1 million in season earnings

With her $133,624 runner-up paycheck at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi, Sweden's Helen Aldredsson crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings for the first time in her 17-year career. Aldredsson's 2008 resume boasts a victory at the Evian Masters and a runner-up finish at the U.S. Women's Open. She is the seventh player to cross the $1 million mark in season earnings in 2008.
 

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Creamer maintains lead in U.S. Solheim Cup team race

22-year-old Paula Creamer maintained a 178 point lead in the race to make the 2009 U.S. Solheim Cup team following a tie for sixth at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. Creamer's three-day total of 7-under-par (69-68-72=209) left her six shots off the pace of winner Cristie Kerr who is improved her second place standing to 246 points following her victory.

The 2009 Solheim Cup will talk place Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The top-10 players on the points list make the team, as well as two captain's picks.
 
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