Lindberg grabs LPGA lead with hot putter

Pernilla Lindberg holed a string of monster birdie putts to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of the LPGA’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic on Thursday.

The Swede carded a seven-under 64 to sit ahead of a group of six players that includes Thailand’s Numa Gulyanamitta and Frenchwoman Karine Icher.

There were mixed fortunes for the Australians, with Lindsey Wright (69), Sarah-Jane Smith (71) and Katherine Hull (72) enjoying solid starts but Sarah Kemp (77) fell well behind.

A top early contender to make the European side at the 2013 Solheim Cup, Lindberg is virtually unknown in the US even though she is in her third year on the LPGA Tour.

“That is one of my goals,” she said of making it big in the US.

“If I can start showing my name on the leaderboard more often here, it’s going to give me more confidence and that, of course, is what everyone wants.”

The 26-year-old Lindberg has not finished in the top 10 of an LPGA event in her 36 starts as a pro.

There was no secret why Lindberg, who went off in the second group of the day, posted such a low score at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Ohio.

She drained a 50-foot putt for birdie at the fifth hole, made a 40-footer on the par-3 14th and held 25-footers at holes 4, 12 and 18.

“It felt like every putt I hit all day had a chance to go in,” said Lindberg, who grew up idolising fellow countrywoman Annika Sorenstam.

“Even the pars I made out there, they were still good birdie chances.”

The 2008 champion, Paula Creamer, had a 68, as did Toledo-born Stacy Lewis, the LPGA money leader.

Defending champ Na Yeon Choi shot a 71, while world No.1 Yani Tseng had a 72.

More thunderstorms are predicted for Friday’s second round.

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